6.9/10
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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.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Don Mullaly (screen play), Carl Erickson (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lionel Atwill ... Ivan Igor
Fay Wray ... Charlotte Duncan
Glenda Farrell ... Florence Dempsey
Frank McHugh ... Jim
Allen Vincent ... Ralph Burton
Gavin Gordon ... George Winton
Edwin Maxwell ... Joe Worth
Holmes Herbert ... Dr. Rasmussen
Claude King ... Mr. Galatalin
Arthur Edmund Carewe ... Sparrow - Professor Darcy
Thomas E. Jackson 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:

Another Lovely Woman Vanished from the Earth!...Another Beauty Molded to His Desire! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Wax Museum See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Color:

Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the title had been changed to "Mystery of the Wax Museum", the leaders on the original release prints still gave the title as "Wax Museum". See more »

Goofs

The wax statues are played by real people (see trivia). Marie Antoinette, Joan of Arc, and Queen Victoria breathe, twitch, flinch, and blink at several points throughout the movie. One statue, knocked over in the London brawl, withdraws her legs from the fighters' path. See more »

Quotes

Florence: [talking about a case] Can I handle this my way?
Jim: You cannot, I'm still editor of this newspaper.
Florence: Fine, you said I was fired... well, I quit, you give the assignment to somebody else.
Jim: Wait a minute, come here.
Florence: [crying] No, I'm through.
Jim: Come here, sob sister, all right, go ahead, do it your own way.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Young Frankenstein (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

The Prisoner's Song
(1925)(uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Sung a cappella by Glenda Farrell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Landmark horror film that should not be missed
9 February 2004 | by Glenn AndreievSee all my reviews

In the early 1930's Jack Warner was under contract to use the Two-strip technicolor process on a Warner Brothers film. Unfortunately, this primitive form of color cinematography had a limited pallet of colors. Everything had an unnatural pastel look. Warner wisely choose a genre not dependent on reality- the horror film. Their first color horror film was DOCTOR X, a wild and macabre who-dunnit complete with scary murders, truly mad doctors and a cannibal. DOCTOR X, released in 1932, was enough of a success, that Warner Brothers reunited it's director, Michael Curtiz, the two leads, Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, and the two strip Technicolor process for yet another horror film. The new film, simply titled WAX MUSEUM during production was a fast moving creepy chiller that mixed the gloom of Depression era New York with the creepy going-ons of a wax museum. The film begins in 1921. Sculptor Ivan Igor (a bohemian looking Lionel Atwill), so obsessed creating his wax museum, that he ignores that he and his partner, Worth (Edwin Maxwell) are in deep financial trouble. Worth sets fire to the museum to collect on a fire insurance policy. The museum is destroyed, and Igor is left a cripple with useless hands.

Twelve years later, in Manhattan, Igor opens a new wax museum. At the same time, a wisecracking reporter, Florence (Glenda Farrell) tracks a hot case of the corpse of a recently murdered socialite stolen from the morgue. She begins to suspect that creepy wax museum downtown of stealing bodies and posing them as wax statues. What makes things worse, is that her best friend, Ruth (Fay Wray) is dating the most innocent of the questionable wax-workers. THE MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM is a DVD shelf must-have.


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