Mystery of the Wax Museum

Mystery of the Wax Museum ★★★★

Candy for the eyes! There's an almost ghostly beauty to the look of the old two-strip Technicolor films of the 20's and especially early 30's, and few movies showcase that better than the great Michael Curtiz's 1933 Horror classic.

The movie initially begins in 1921 London. Struggling sculptor Ivan Igor (what a name!) has his hands maimed and is confined to a wheelchair after his indebted wax museum, filled with his beloved creations, is burned to a total loss by his financial backer. Advancing the story 12 years later and moving the setting to New York, Igor opens a new museum, where he tutors other artists and grows obsessed with his assistant's fiancé. Meanwhile, recent disappearances (including corpses) lead a sassy, determined reporter to the wax museum's front door.

Glenda Farrell owns the movie. She's a firecracker in the role of reporter Florence Dempster, who happens to be twice as capable as her male counterparts...and three times as rowdy! Lionel Atwill has a field day as the mad sculptor, the ethereal exquisiteness of Fay Wray is here in all its glory, and the film is fast paced with some actual decent comedy relief. The movie is also something of an Art Deco masterpiece, thanks to the art direction by Anton Grot.

Acknowledged as one of the finest horror films of the 30s, and it's clear to see why. Easily recommended.

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