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Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,892 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 42 critic

The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Glenda Farrell ...
Frank McHugh ...
Jim
Allen Vincent ...
Gavin Gordon ...
...
Holmes Herbert ...
Dr. Rasmussen
Claude King ...
Mr. Galatalin
Arthur Edmund Carewe ...
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Detective (as Thomas Jackson)
DeWitt Jennings ...
Police Captain
Matthew Betz ...
Hugo
Monica Bannister ...
Joan Gale
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Storyline

In London, sculptor Ivan Igor struggles in vain to prevent his partner Worth from burning his wax museum...and his 'children.' Years later, Igor starts a new museum in New York, but his maimed hands confine him to directing lesser artists. People begin disappearing (including a corpse from the morgue); Igor takes a sinister interest in Charlotte Duncan, fiancée of his assistant Ralph, but arouses the suspicions of Charlotte's roommate, wisecracking reporter Florence. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Warner Bros.' Supreme Thriller See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Wax Museum  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was produced before the Production Code. When it was re-made only 20 years later, as House of Wax (1953), all references to drug use were removed and a character was changed from a junkie to an alcoholic. See more »

Goofs

Ivan Igor says that Jean Paul Marat's assassin, Charlotte Corday, was his mistress. Not so - they had never met until she came to his office posing as a courier and quickly stabbed him to death. After her execution a few days later, she was found to be virgo intacta. See more »

Quotes

Ivan Igor: If my curiosity is not too great, would you mind telling me what manner of animal it is you are designing?
Ralph Burton: This is one of the Athenian girls for the bacchanal.
Ivan Igor: It would be interesting to know, young man, where and when you studied anatomy.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Mame (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Agitato
(uncredited)
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Stock cue played over main titles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Thirties Movies Made for the 30s.
14 September 2003 | by (Indianapolis, Indiana) – See all my reviews

Considering the fact that this 1933 movie was produced during the depression, when moviegoers expected pure entertainment, the results were exactly what they wanted. Glenda Farrell's hard-boiled Florence Dempsey was what filmgoers were looking for. Please note that many of the movies of the period had male and female stars who were fast talkers and wise-crackers. Such stars as Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, Rosalind Russell, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Mae West, W. C. Fields, William Powell, Myrna Loy, etc. were the norm and not the exception.

This wonderful movie was way ahead of its time. It's two-color look was also something very different for the 1930s and its washed-out looked helped give it a more sinister appearance. The later "House of Wax" used 3-D and having seen it in the movies I can tell you it was probably the best of the 3-D movies. Even better than "The Creature from the Black Lagoon".

Fay Wray was pure candy and she practiced her scream well for the upcoming "King Kong". I have seen most of Lionel Atwill's work and I believe the underplaying of Ivan Igor helped make him a more credible monster. The movie was well cast and one can not help but notice the uncanny fact that most of the actors in "The House of Wax" were chosen because they looked like the earlier actors except for the difference between Charles Buchinsky (Bronson) and Matthew Betz as the loyal mute assistant.

Although enjoyable, "The House of Wax" was no match for the earlier edition. It's understandable that "The House of Wax" did not use the characters of Florence Dempsey and Gavin Gordon. Sidekicks didn't work as well as in the 50s.

I wonder what the movie critics of the 30s thought of the "Mystery of the Wax Museum?"


19 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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