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Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

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



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Allen Vincent ...
Dr. Rasmussen
Claude King ...
Mr. Galatalin
Arthur Edmund Carewe ...
Sparrow - Professor Darcy
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Detective (as Thomas Jackson)
DeWitt Jennings ...
Police Captain
Matthew Betz ...
Joan Gale


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

Plot Keywords:

wax | sculptor | reporter | money | corpse | See All (137) »


Women of FLESH become WAX in his hands... women of wax become flesh! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Wax Museum  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The color version was believed to be lost until the late sixties, when Jack Warner's personal print was rediscovered at his home. See more »


Florence's scarf goes from being buttoned in the editors office to unbuttoned in the police station, and the button on her scarf changes sides at least once. See more »


Florence: [after Charlotte hangs up the phone after talking to Ralph] Who was that? Penny Ante?
Charlotte Duncan: Mmm-hmm, why?.
Florence: Just wondering, did you invite him to lunch or did he invite you?
Charlotte Duncan: Well I don't want to offend you, but, frankly, that's none of your business. I don't interfere in any of your affairs.
Florence: I don't have any affairs.
[sits up and shouts]
Florence: What do you mean?
Charlotte Duncan: I don't think you could have a real affair, I don't think you could care for anyone.
Florence: Oh please, I've been in love so many times my heart's calloused, ...
See more »


The Prisoner's Song
Written by Guy Massey
Sung a cappella by Glenda Farrell
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Enjoyable Horror Mystery
7 November 2002 | by (Newfoundland, Canada) – See all my reviews

This film is full of unexpected twists and turns as should be any good mystery. When bodies begin disappearing, a desperate reporter finally hopes to get the break she needs to keep her job by attempting to unravel the mystery. She soon finds herself investigating a new wax museum which just happens to have a woman figurine of Joan of Arc which greatly resembles one of the missing bodies named Joan Gale. From there things continue to unravel and conclude in surprisingly horrific fashion for the time and era.

The Horror is there in terms of the mysterious burnt figure we see snatching the bodies as well as many other strange figures often seen only in menacing shadow.

The acting is superb. Lionel Atwill is outstanding in the role of Ivan Igor-the owner of the new wax museum who is trying to recapture his past loss. Fay Wray is stunningly beautiful in her short role as Charlotte who finds herself in a whole lot of unexpected trouble. Glenda Farrell also adds considerable energy as the female reporter--a character which unfortunately became much too common and stereotypical in this period of film. Nonetheless Farrell is quite competent in the role and definitely adds her own stamp to it.

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