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Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)

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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 979 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 7 critic

An escaped convicted murderer hides out at a New York wax museum where he hopes to get plastic surgery, which will help him revenge himself on Charlie Chan.



(original screen play), (based on the character created by: Charlie Chan)
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Title: Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)

Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Complete credited cast:
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
C. Henry Gordon ...
Dr. Cream
Joan Valerie ...
Lily Latimer
Marguerite Chapman ...
Mary Bolton
Ted Osborne ...
Tom Agnew (as Ted Osborn)
Michael Visaroff ...
Dr. Otto Von Brom
Hilda Vaughn ...
Mrs. Rocke
Charles Wagenheim ...
Willie Fern
Archie Twitchell ...
Carter Lane
Eddie Marr ...
Joe King ...
Inspector O'Matthews
Harold Goodwin ...


A wax museum run by a demented doctor contains statues of such crime figures as Jack the Ripper and Bluebeard. In addition to making wax statues the doctor performs plastic surgery. It is here that an arch fiend takes refuge. The museum also houses a statue of Charlie. Frustrated number-two son kicks statue in rear; oops, number-two son wrong in his assumption. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Death in the electric chair faces Charlie Chan... at the hands of a murderer twelve years dead! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The twenty-fifth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »


When Inspector Matthews comes in through the museum window, his coat is wet from the thunderstorm outside. Seconds thereafter, although his face still has rain dripping from it, his coat is now dry. See more »


Dr. Cream: [after lighta are out] Don't move! There's a killer among us!
See more »


Followed by Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

Faces and Representations
10 October 2006 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Of all the Chans that I know, this is both the best and the most interesting.

The setting is really cool. Its a wax museum where contemporary crimes are displayed, using personalities that are alive and are among the statues of themselves. It is also a plastic surgery where crooks get their faces changed. And thirdly it is the site of a broadcast radio show where unsolved crimes are re-enacted on-air.

It sounds complicated, and it is. But it is all done very matter of factly, so that these three very clever notions overlap and sometimes merge. Regular readers of my comments know that I love this sort of stuff, stuff I call "folding." Folding is stuff that plays with the notions of representation, and the fun is in how the movieness can play with itself, presenting to us and at the same time noodling with what it means to present.

Detecting in folds has always been a way of discovering narrative. Charlie Chan mysteries aren't the most cerebral of things along these lines. And the actual mystery here is impossible for the audience to anticipate. Its just revealed.

But in just the form of the thing, its great fun. It even has a chess-playing machine, a pretty savvy reference to a fourth fold. (One of the earliest

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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