Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

USA, 1933
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Michael Curtiz.

Plot Summary

Sculptor Ivan Igor opens a museum in New York but his damaged hands mean that he has to subcontract the wax models to other, lesser artists. When people begin disappearing around Igor and his museum reporter Florence Dempsey begins to investigate.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Copyright MCMXXXIII [1933] Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. & The Vitaphone Corp. oresent
In Charge of Production: Darryl F. Zanuck *
Screen Play by: Don Mullaly, Carl Erickson
From the Story by: Charles S. Belden
Photography by: Ray Rennahan
Edited by: George Amy
Vitaphone Orchestra conducted by Leo F. Forbstein
Gowns by: Orry-Kelly
Art Director: Anton Grot

Lionel Atwill [Ivan Igor]
Fay Wray [Charlotte Duncan]
Glenda Farrell [Florence Dempsey]
Frank McHugh [Jim]
Allen Vincent [Ralph Burton]
Gavin Gordon [Harold Winton]
Edwin Maxwell [Joe Worth]
Holmes Herbert [Dr Rasmussen]
Claude King [Mr Golatily]
Arthur Edmund Carewe [Sparrow]
Thomas Jackson [detective]
DeWitt Jennings [police chief]
Matthew Betz [Hugo]
Monica Bannister [Joan Gale]

Alternative Titles

Os Crimes do Museu – Brazil
Gabinet figur woskowych – Poland
Das Geheimnis des Wachsfigurenkabinetts – West Germany
Kerenies maskes – Greece
De man met de wassen beelden – Netherlands
La maschera di cera – Italy
Los crímenes del museo – Spain
Máscaras de Cera – Portugal
Masques de cire – Belgium (French), France
Misterija u muzeju vostanih figura – Serbia
Mumyalar müzesi – Turkey
The Mystery of the Wax Museum – USA (advertising)
A panoptikum rejtélye – Hungary
Vahakabinetin arvoitus – Finland (television)
Wachsfigurenkabinett – Austria
Wachsfigurenkabinett – West Germany
Wax Museum

House of Wax (1953)
House of Wax (2005)

Extracts included in
Universal Horror (1998)
Visions of Light (1992)

See also
Young Frankenstein (1974)



  • American Cinematographer vol.71 no.4 (April 1990) pp.42-50 – illustrated credits, article
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.16 pp.28-32
  • The Cinema Booking Guide Supplement vol.2 no.8 (April 1933) p.26 – credits, review
  • Empire no.187 (January 2005) p.196 – illustrated DVD review
  • Film Comment vol.7 no.1 (Spring 1971) p.71 – review
  • Filmfax no.72 (April/May 1999) p.43 – illustrated article (Mystery of the Wax Museum by Anthony Slide)
  • Films in Review vol.30 no.1 (January 1979) pp.62-63 – letter
  • Films of the Golden Age no.3 (Winter 1995/1996) p.15-17 – illustrated article (Mystery of the Wax Museum by Gary Weinraub)
  • L'Incroyable Cinema no.4 (Spring 1971) pp.23-25 – review
  • Kine Weekly no.1354 (30 March 1933) – credits, review
  • The Missing Link no.2 (Autumn 1994) pp.24-26 – illustrated review
  • The Picturegoer vol.3 no.121 (16 September 1933) p.26 – credits, review
  • Radio Times vol.250 no.3273 (16 August 1986) p.18 – review
  • Shivers no.20 (August 1995) pp.4-7 – illustrated article (Women or Wax? by Jonathan Rigby)
  • Shivers no.82 (October 2000) p.54 – illustrated article (The fright of your life by Jonathan Rigby)
  • The Velvet Light Trap no.15 (Autumn 1975) pp.14-16 – article


  • After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film by Alison Peirse pp.12, 55, 75, 77, 136
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.57
  • Censored Screams: The British Ban on Hollywood Horror in the Thirties by Tom Johnson pp.81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 163, 164, 103, 105, 106, 113, 114-116, 127, 128, 132, 145, 146, 150, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 161, 163, 165-168, 172, 175, 176, 177; 190-191 – notes; credits
  • A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series by Ken Hanke pp.61-63; 68
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.42, 71, 77, 145, 173
  • Golden Horrors: An Illustrated Critical Filmography, 1931-1939 by Bryan Senn pp.159-169
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films: A Checklist by Donald C. Willis p.346 – credits
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.343
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.22 – credits, review
  • by Walt Lee pp.325; 326 – credits; illustration
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti p.305
  • Sound Films, 1927-1939: A United States Filmography by Alan G. Fetrow p.449
  • Top 100 Horror Movies by Gary Gerani p.103 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review