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as of: 6/08/05

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)



out of 10


Michael Curtiz


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 (Prof. Darcy)
Thomas E. Jackson .... Detective
DeWitt Jennings .... Police captain
Matthew Betz .... Hugo (the deaf-mute)
Monica Bannister .... Joan Gale


WOW. This movie surprised me for several reasons. First, I came in expecting this 1933 film to be in black & white. Instead, it was filmed in early two-strip technicolor. Second, I expected a pretty reserved early horror film and instead got a pretty cool Pre-Code talkie. I especially liked Glenda Farrell as the stereotypical wisecracking dame (reporter Florence Dempsey) so common in the 30's. In fact, she did such a good job she reminded me a lot of my favorite actress Ginger Rogers in 42nd Street, who was so good in that movie and others before her more famous musicals with Fred Astaire. Lionel Atwill puts in a good to great performance as Ivan Igor, a sculptor who moved on to wax figures because he felt he could recreate life so much more beautifully through that medium rather than cold, gray stone. Unfortunately for Mr. Igor, an unscrupulous partner in his wax museum decides to burn it down (and Mr. Igor with it). Igor moves to America after surviving this terrible act, and he says he hires others to create his wax figurines. However, not everything is as it seems at the Wax Museum. Fay Wray plays the beautiful damsel in distress, drawn near the Wax Museum because her boyfriend Jim works there. Florence is determined to get to the bottom of the Mystery of the Wax Museum before it is too late. This movie is definitely a "buy" for anyone who likes classic horror. And to make matters even sweeter, it comes packaged on a double disc with the remake House of Wax, starring Vincent Price. I give Mystery of the Wax Museum a very solid 8/10, and I encourage you to see this film if you haven't before. I was VERY pleasantly surprised.


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