(Review originally written at 22 August 2009)

Being a big Michael Curtiz fan, I still didn't think he could pull off a good horror movie. "Mystery of the Wax Museum" is however one fine maintaining early horror movie, shot in 2-strip Technicolor. A surprising turn from Michael Curtiz, as well as from the Warner Bros. studios, who of course weren't and still aren't exactly known for their horror movie productions.

It's a typical horror movie for its era, that perhaps best can be compared to an early Phantom of the Opera movie, in terms of its atmosphere and story-telling. It's not just being an horror movie but also and perhaps foremost a mystery movie, also hence the title "Mystery of the Wax Museum", that sounds more like a detective movie than a scary horror perhaps.

It's a slow and perhaps not always told well story but overall the movie holds your interest and the movie is simply a good one to watch, from start till finish.

The fact that this movie is shot in color also gives the movie an extra dimension. It's always special to see a movie made with '30's techniques and acting in color. It gives the movie a special atmosphere, from which it benefits. The look of the movie is great and as you can expect from a Curtiz movie it has some great cinematography. There are some trademark Michael Curtiz moments in this movie as well but as a whole it also is quite obvious that this is still an early Hollywood movie by him. Yet this movie was perhaps his big breakthrough and opened the doors for him to make many big, grand Hollwyood epics in the second halve of the '30's.

The movie stars Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray in the main leads. Two actors who were yet to become big stars. Fay Wray managed this of course in the same year with her role in "King Kong", which made her immortal. Lionel Atwill would continue later on to star in many big Universal Studio's horror productions, till his death in 1946.

For 1933 it's simply a fine, though slightly flawed, horror production.


About Frank Veenstra

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