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Mysteries of the Wax Museum


Dothery
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I never even knew this movie existed. It was surprisingly good, with the actors doing the waxworks because of the heat of the lights, which melted real wax figures. I don't expect it did the actors much good either. Anyway, this original (I suppose) version of "House of Wax" was pretty thrilling. I liked it, even the dated wisecracks. A little hard to keep up with the speed of the dialogue with the principals. I don't hear as fast as I used to. As well, but not as fast ...

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<I don't hear as fast as I used to. > :)

 

 

I'm with you, dothery. I increasingly watch DVDs with the subtitles on.

 

 

I watched most of "Mysteries of the Wax Museum" before I had to go to bed. I'd never heard of it before, either! And, I was unaware of the two-film color process (red and green). I enjoyed RO's intro and learned something. I think it looked remarkably good, so props to the early pioneers of that technology!

 

 

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I missed that one, but Doctor X was a hoot, even if the monster was cheesy - liiiiiiiiiquid flesh. Mmmm.

 

Kudos to Max Factor, getting in at the ground floor.

 

Lee and Fay Wray - not so much.

 

But Lee certainly coulda been a contender, his staccato delivery and obvious talent put him up there with the big boys - how did he screw up again?

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I never even knew this movie existed.

 

Those of us who grew up in the 1960s with "Famous Monsters" magazine and Forrest J Ackerman's repeated references to it could only yearn as the film was thought lost and just about all that we knew about it was that it was "the original version of HOUSE OF WAX."

 

 

In 1970, a copy was found in Jack Warner's personal collection and the film was screened on both coasts to much fanfare and personally, I thought that the print that I saw back then had more vibrant color than the one presently on DVD and TCM. Not necessarily more accurate, it's hard to claim so after 40 years have gone by and I'm working on memory. But I do recall thinking at the time that the color looked at least as good as some Cinecolor westerns that I had seen that were made 20 years or so later. I not only saw it at a museum screening, but also on WPIX-TV circa 1973 and it looked quite vibrant.

 

 

If one buys the HOUSE OF WAX DVD, there's a bonus of MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM included. Supposedly Laserdisc owners are more fortunate, the print issued in that format was taken from the Jack Warner copy and is not the same as the washed out facsimile that we are presented with these days.

 

 

I'm sure that some other board regular is better versed in the history of the preservation and transfers of this title. I can only go by my own recollections of various times that I've been exposed to it.

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> {quote:title=willbefree25 wrote:}{quote}

>

> But Lee certainly coulda been a contender, his staccato delivery and obvious talent put him up there with the big boys - how did he screw up again?

Allegedly he got really wasted on the set of Viva Villa!, stood on a balcony rail and peed on a bunch of extras.

 

Personally, I think it's got to be something more than that, but that's the story that's out there.

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I dunno, I think both are solid enough- the 1954 version corrects some things I think it was right to correct (there's no need to start in London then switch to NY; there's no need for the 10 year time lapse, the revenge on the guy who burned the waxworks originally is much clearer in the 1954 version (and there seems to be a foggy angle in the original implicating he's a bootlegger? a drug dealer? what was up with that?), and it's a bit foggy as to who exactly is the "lead" in the 1933 version- (Fay Wray seems to have a particularly pointless role, although there are a lot of pointless roles in the 1933 version.)

 

And I'm sorry, but I prefer Vincent Price.

 

But the 1933 version is scarier, less constrained, far more stylish, and more brutal- the references to narcotics, the corpse sitting up in the morgue, the no warning reveal of the bad guy's hideous face in the first scene- as well as the very funny jokes about bootlegging and the strong turn by Glenda Farrell in a great role...as well as that strange romantic twist at the end. Plus, it helps that there is no obvious 3-D, Count Floyd-like gimmickry where things are constantly being tossed out to the audience in the 1933 version- that's the one thing that dates the 1954 version badly.

 

I dunno, both are solid, both have weaknesses.

 

ps- did they use the *exact same* opening shot of the rainy street corner from the 1933 version for the opening credits to the 1954 version?

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 4, 2012 9:49 AM

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copy and pasted from wikipedia:the edition [Turner Classic Movies|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_Classic_Movies|Turner Classic Movies] uses is an utterly inaccurate and alarming rendering of the film in shades of blue and pink that bears no relationship to the original color scheme.

 

(ouch)

 

copy and pasted from the "errors" section of the film's listing on imdb:The wax statues are played by real people (see trivia). Marie Antoinette, Joan of Arc, and [Queen Victoria|http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0703075/] breathe, twitch, flinch, and blink at several points throughout the movie. One statue, knocked over in the London brawl, withdraws her legs from the fighters' path.

 

The worker who unloads the Voltaire statue in New York is played by the same actor who poses as Judge Ramsey in the press photo, even though the Voltaire statue is supposed to be Judge Ramsey's corpse.

 

pss- who the hell was Judge Ramsey? That was another fault in the 1933 version, it seemed like there were some story continuity issues due to scenes being cut (or something.)

 

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 4, 2012 10:04 AM

 

Edited by: AddisonDeWitless on Oct 4, 2012 10:07 AM

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I'd forgotten how funny Glenda Farrell was in this. I wasnt paying close attention during parts of it as I was doing other things and found myself laughing out loud at her remarks when I wasnt even focused that closely on what was going on........

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The 1954 film repeats the "gag" about the corpse that sits up. I'm not sure about the opening scene being the same, they would have had to do whatever is necessary to make it 3D. so it was probably just a similar shot.

 

I haven't looked at the 1954 version in some time as my last three viewings of it were all on a big screen in 3D, so I'm not tempted to look at it in 2D. I even have the DVD, but I bought it for the bonus of MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM.

 

Then again. I have too many DVDs that I've yet to look at, but that will be rectified as usual during the Oscarfest month on TCM.

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I've seen it several times. Not worth losing sleep over. (especially if you know how it weirdly ends...)

 

 

Some of us have to get up and go to work in the morning...........

 

Edited by: Hibi on Oct 4, 2012 3:23 PM

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> I'd forgotten how funny Glenda Farrell was in this.

 

"Go someplace warm -- and I don't mean California!"

 

She has an even more shocking line in *Girl Missing*, when she and her fellow gold-digger read the "Dear Jane" letter Guy Kibbee wrote them:

 

"It's addressed to us all right. 'To the G.D. Sisters.' I wonder if he means 'gold-diggers'... or that other well-known word."

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> {quote:title=clore wrote:}{quote}

>

> If one buys the HOUSE OF WAX DVD, there's a bonus of MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM included. Supposedly Laserdisc owners are more fortunate, the print issued in that format was taken from the Jack Warner copy and is not the same as the washed out facsimile that we are presented with these days.

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> I'm sure that some other board regular is better versed in the history of the preservation and transfers of this title. I can only go by my own recollections of various times that I've been exposed to it.

>

I'm fortunate then, because I have that laserdisc of DOCTOR X/MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM.

The problem with the transfer since then is that WHV made the movie too blue-looking in the dark scenes....there's none of that overdone "bluishness" on the laserdisc. I think the laserdisc actually looks BETTER overall than the DVD master, not just on the color but also the sharpness of the transfer.

 

I believe when the film was preserved, it was UCLA's film archives which did the preservation, mostly making a modern copy onto safety film stock.

 

 

The thing is...the movie was also released in black & white for theaters which couldn't afford to show the Technicolor print. Because back then you simply couldn't make a blak & white print from the Technicolor version, the movie was filmed TWICE....filmed a second time in black & white. For years before the color print was preserved and then distributed, the black & white prints were the only ones available for theatrical showings and 16mm rentals. People have stated for years that the movie needs its own special edition DVD release containing BOTH prints of the movie...because it was filmed a second time there are actually little differences not only in the camera setups but also in the way dialogue is delivered by the actors. Both versions need to be released together on DVD or Blu-ray...and the Technicolor version needs a serious remastering to correct the color imbalance.

 

 

Note: I happen to like MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM better than HOUSE OF WAX, although I enjoy both. I just like MYSTERY as the better of the two films.

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LOL! Yeah, that was a good one. She had another put down of Fay Wray and her boyfriend, something like Well, I'm Glad We Settled That or something similar when he was saying he liked her dress. Is it new?.........

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