House of Wax

Synopsis: Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau's such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant's beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he's found the perfect model - only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations.
Genre: Horror
Director(s): André De Toth
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
88 min

Hello, Matthew,

what are you doing here so late?

I came to get the books.

I want to study our accounts.

We've been doing very well lately.

Over 200 paid admissions today.

You call that good Saturday business?

If you weren't so stubborn,

we'd be turning them away from here.

Who cares a hang about history in wax?

There are people in the world

who love beauty.

But more who want sensation, shock!

Morbidly curious! I won't cater to them.

Their money is as good as anybody else's.

You should have seen them turning

them away at that Wax Museum...

on 23rd Street tonight: The Eden Muse.

The story's the same at

Madame Tussaud's in London.

- If you'd only listened to me...

- I know, Matthew.

I'd put in a Chamber of Horrors:

Murder, torture, executions...

scare the life out of people.

I don't care for that kind of patronage!

You're a great artist, a genius sculptor.

I'm an ordinary businessman who wants

a quick return on his investment.

I've put $20,000

in this historic peep show of yours.

- I could use that to better advantage.

- All right, Matthew.

I've known for some time

you wanted to dissolve our partnership.

- I may be able to accommodate you.

- How?

A friend is bringing Sidney Wallace,

the art critic, to see my work tonight.

Wallace is rich, and I think

I might persuade him to buy you out.

That sounds interesting.

- I'll want a profit on my investment.

- Yes, Matthew.

I understand.

You leave everything to me,

and I promise you it will be...

- That should be they, now.

- I'll wait in the office.

I've heard of Wallace.

He has a pot of money.

If he likes your stuff, put a stiff price on it.

- Does Jarrod live here?

- Yes, he has a room upstairs.

You'll like him, Sidney.

He speaks your language.

Please come in.

I'm happy to see you, Bruce.

I thought you wouldn't come

on such a bad night.

We were delayed.

He had to be at a gallery.

Mr. Sidney Wallace. Professor Jarrod.

- A pleasure.

- For me also, Professor.

That title was bestowed on me

when I became an exhibitor.

It has little to do with my real work.

If you come, I will show you

what that work is.

The visit of such a distinguished critic...

may cause my children

to become conceited.

To you, they're wax. But to me,

their creator, they live and breathe.

Here we have two great lovers

from the past.

Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt,

and Mark Antony. Their last meeting.

You'll recall, Antony,

believing Cleopatra to be dead...

killed himself with his own sword.

When Cleopatra found out what happened,

she quickly followed her lover.

You noticed how cleverly

the hair is mounted on the scalp?

Yes. How do you do that?

Real hair of the proper color and texture...

is pressed into the slightly warmed wax

with a scalpel...

one hair at a time.

Each wave and curl

of the subject's own hair is reproduced.

Here's President Lincoln and his assassin,

John Wilkes Booth...

one of my few concessions

to the macabre.

That's the best figure of Booth I've ever

seen. You almost expect him to speak.

- I wonder what he'd say.

- I'm sure he'd rant a bit.

Even after he shot Lincoln and jumped

from the President's box onto the stage...

he couldn't resist turning to the audience

and taking a bow.

I found him a very stubborn person.

- Stubborn?

- Unbelievably.

For days I argued with this fellow

before he posed the way I wanted him to.

- You mean, he talked back to you?

- Of course.

It's not easy to shut an actor's mouth.

These groups are like

dimensional paintings of the old masters.

This is not only a great show,

it's an art exhibit.

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Crane Wilbur

Crane Wilbur (November 17, 1886 – October 18, 1973) was an American writer, actor and director for stage, radio and screen. He was born in Athens, New York. Wilbur is best remembered for playing Harry Marvin in The Perils of Pauline. He died in Toluca Lake, California.He was a prolific writer and director of at least 67 films from the silent era into the sound era, but it was as an actor that he found lasting recognition, particularly playing opposite Pearl White in the iconoclastic serial The Perils of Pauline. He brought to the first motion pictures merry eyes, a great, thick crop of wavy, black hair and an athlete's interest in swimming and horseback riding. Twelve years of stage experience prepared him for his venture into the new art of silent motion pictures. He was one of the first to explore the techniques required to communicate through the wordless shadows of the movies. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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