6.8/10
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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 ... Detective (as Thomas Jackson)
DeWitt Jennings ... Police Captain
Matthew Betz ... Hugo
Monica Bannister ... Joan Gale
Edit

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:

IS SHE WOMAN OR WAX??? Solve it -- if you dare! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

Actress Monica Bannister is credited as playing Joan Gale, but she's never seen as a living person -- only as a corpse and as Joan of Arc in the wax museum. See more »

Goofs

The bottle of whiskey that the officer picks up is clearly not leaking in the long shot, but in the close up shot, it shows the liquid practically pouring from the bottom. See more »

Quotes

Florence: Hello, light of my life.
Jim: Well, well, Prussic Acid.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Universal Horror (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

A Thirties Movies Made for the 30s.
14 September 2003 | by pfeinmanSee all my reviews

Considering the fact that this 1933 movie was produced during the depression, when moviegoers expected pure entertainment, the results were exactly what they wanted. Glenda Farrell's hard-boiled Florence Dempsey was what filmgoers were looking for. Please note that many of the movies of the period had male and female stars who were fast talkers and wise-crackers. Such stars as Cary Grant, Carole Lombard, Rosalind Russell, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Mae West, W. C. Fields, William Powell, Myrna Loy, etc. were the norm and not the exception.

This wonderful movie was way ahead of its time. It's two-color look was also something very different for the 1930s and its washed-out looked helped give it a more sinister appearance. The later "House of Wax" used 3-D and having seen it in the movies I can tell you it was probably the best of the 3-D movies. Even better than "The Creature from the Black Lagoon".

Fay Wray was pure candy and she practiced her scream well for the upcoming "King Kong". I have seen most of Lionel Atwill's work and I believe the underplaying of Ivan Igor helped make him a more credible monster. The movie was well cast and one can not help but notice the uncanny fact that most of the actors in "The House of Wax" were chosen because they looked like the earlier actors except for the difference between Charles Buchinsky (Bronson) and Matthew Betz as the loyal mute assistant.

Although enjoyable, "The House of Wax" was no match for the earlier edition. It's understandable that "The House of Wax" did not use the characters of Florence Dempsey and Gavin Gordon. Sidekicks didn't work as well as in the 50s.

I wonder what the movie critics of the 30s thought of the "Mystery of the Wax Museum?"


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