Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Crackling B-movie, made with consumate professionalism and vigor, about a series of disappearances and their relation to a recently opened wax museum manned by an old master sculptor crippled many years past. Rather than the expected ham, Lionel Atwill plays the proprietor of this museum with a marvelously weary haughtiness, so that when he slides into mania in the third act it seems less like overacting and more like a natural progression of his misanthropy. Glenda Farrell, meanwhile, steals scenes and reads 'zines in the snappy role of Florence Dempsey, a tough-talking newspaper reporter who eventually figures out the whole shebang. Briskly paced and sharply directed by Michael Curtiz (one of Hollywood's finest journeymen), and containing at least one twist at the end that I should have seen coming but didn't (even if I did, though, the abrupt reveal is spectacular), this is pretty solid matinee stuff. I can't imagine the Vincent Price version being that much better, though I do wonder what the hell is up with that last scene...

Grade: B

2 Comments:

Blogger NateDredge said...

This is included on the b-side of the Price House of Wax DVD.

1:19 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I know -- that's how I saw it. Got the DVD as a gift a couple o' years back. The Price version is queued up for a viewing some time in the next couple of weeks.

10:42 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home