7.6/10
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Charlie Chan at the Wax Museum (1940)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 6 September 1940 (USA)
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.

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(original screen play) (as John Larkin), (based on the character created by: Charlie Chan)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
...
...
...
...
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 ...
Grenock (as Edward Marr)
Joe King ...
Inspector O'Matthews
Harold Goodwin ...
Edwards
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

6 September 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan en el museo de cera  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The wax head near the mummy case appears to be modeled after Clark Gable. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Steve McBirney: [to Dr. Cream] I want the best face you ever made just so's I can walk up to Chan and say, "Hiya, Charlie" before I let him have it.
See more »

Connections

Follows Charlie Chan at the Circus (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

Silly Plot But Atmospheric
20 February 2010 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Chan (Sidney Toler) investigates mysterious goings-on at "Dr. Cream's Museum Of Crime", which houses wax dummies of famous crime figures. The story puzzle features a murderer whose face has been changed as a result of surgery. Such a silly plot devise is a tad cheap, in that it provides the director an easy way to disguise the killer's current identity.

While Chan is inside the eerie museum, at least one murder occurs. And there are roughly nine suspects, a bit much for a film with a 63 minute runtime. Still, the suspect pool provides some interestingly diverse characters.

In trying to identify the killer, I guessed wrong. There's really not much to go on in terms of clues. However, some suspicious behavior and a line of dialogue offers a couple of vague hints.

A mostly nighttime setting, great B&W lighting, a pronounced echo, and lightning and thunder contribute enormously to the spooky atmosphere.

If I could have changed anything it would have been to reduce the number of suspects to six or seven and to focus a little more on their personalities and backgrounds. Also, I would have deleted Jimmy Chan, inserted apparently for comic relief, who is generally just annoying.

An average film in the Charlie Chan series, "The Wax Museum", despite the silly plot devise and too many suspects, is enjoyable for its spooky atmosphere and for a story puzzle that's not easy to figure out.


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