Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

I watched the 1933 restored version of the Warner Bros & The Vitaphone Corp. “Mystery of the Wax Museum” on Svengoolie. The preservation was done by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation, funded by The George Lucas Family Foundation. I’ll have to say the film looks and sounds wonderful.

The movie is based on the short story, The Wax Works, by Charles S. Belden (American screenwriter and journalist, known for writing screenplays for Charlie Chan films like Charlie Chan at the Opera).

You’ll notice the similarities to the 1953 3D remake “House of Wax” starring Vincent Price. The 2005 “House of Wax” only shares it’s title with the 1953 movie. The Mystery of the Wax Museum starts in London, 1921, with Ivan Igor’s Wax Museum

about to open displaying wax figures that were wonderfully sculpted. His partner Joe Worth is only about the money and wants to burn the museum for the insurance money. They struggle but the place is burned to the ground.

Now we move ahead to 1933 New York where Igor, now in a wheelchair from his injuries of the fire, is about to open a museum there. Igor is played by Lionel Atwill (was in 5 of 8 Universal Frankenstein movies, Man Made Monster, Doctor X, House of Dracula, Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon),

Florence Dempsey, the reporter trying to get a big story, is Glenda Farrell (smart and sassy wisecracking blonde in lots of films, Little Caesar, I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Kissin’ Cousins, appeared in TV shows like, Ben Casey, Bewitched, Bonanza, Rawhide, Route 66),

Ralph Burton, Igor’s assistant, is played by Allen Vincent (The Face Behind the Mask, Sutter’s Gold) and his fiancée is Charlotte Duncan played by Fay Wray (known as the scream queen, Doctor X, The Countess of Monte Christo, The Vampire Bat, King Kong)

Frank McHugh (Easy Come Easy Go, Mighty Joe Young), Gavin Gordon (The Nutty Professor, Girls! Girls! Girls!, The Ten Commandments, White Christmas, Bride of Frankenstein), Edwin Maxwell (Duck Soup, A Star is Born, Night Terror),

Holmes Herbert (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, Invisible Man, The Ghost of Frankenstein, Captain Blood), Claude King (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Mystery of Mr. X, Born to be Bad) and Hugo the deaf-mute was played by Matthew Betz (Tarzan The Fearless, The Hurricane Express).

I liked this move a lot so I’ll give it 4 out of 5 stars. It has a good mix of horror, mystery and comedy. For more information read Wikipedia, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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