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(Review originally written at 19 April 2008)

This is a movie that features 3 kind of different stories, when the owner of a wax museum hires a writer to write 3 stories for 3 of his models; Harun al Raschid, Ivan the Terrible and Jack the Ripper. It provides the movie with 3 different stories, set at different times and each with a new different main character, played by the finest 3 German actors of their time period. It's a very creative and interesting concept, also of course really when considering that this movie got made in 1924.

In order to keep all of the stories still somewhat connected and make the movie more coherent as a whole, all of the stories feature the two actors William Dieterle and Olga Belajeff, each time in different roles. But when you have 2 stories of about halve an hour and then another one of just 5 minutes, can you still really call this movie a coherent one? It can be presumed that budgeting reasons was the reason why the last story of the movie is so much shorter. It was originally even planned to shoot a fourth story about Rinaldo Rinaldini. The character can still be seen at the start of movie, standing between the other waxed characters. Even though all stories are different and set in completely different time periods, they still have the same overall style over it, which still is a reason why this movie still feels like a whole one.

All the episodes are good looking but the stories for it aren't always that interesting. Basically since it at times it kind of dragging and despite some early action and adventure elements, the movie still is sort of a lackluster. Well lack-lusting perhaps isn't the right way to describe it. It's more that it's not really engaging enough at all times.

But of course the looks and style of the movie compensate a lot. This is a real expressionistic German movie, with some fantastic distinctive expressionistic sets. That alone already makes this movie for the lovers of German expressionistic style an absolute must-see.

It's absolutely a great fact that this movie features Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss, who were really the biggest, best known and best German actors of their time. The movie also features William Dieterle, who later gained more fame as a director of movies such as "The Life of Emile Zola" and the 1939 version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", with Charles Laughton.

It's basically a fun entertaining movie from the early '20's, that is truly worth watching for plenty of reasons.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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