Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), directed by Michael Curtiz.

A cross between Jack-the-Ripper and Phantom of the Opera, overshadowed by its more famous remake, House of Wax (1953) with Vincent Price.

Something of a muddle of chills and laughs, with a big action scene at the end. The melting wax figures during the first scene are pretty ghastly. It's a pleasant enough 1h17m if you like the genre, and the visual design is intriguing.

Pre-Code, but that just means one of the madman's helpers is a junkie rather than an alcoholic. Fay Wray may show more leg art than would have been done a little later.

One of the last feature films made in two-color Technicolor. It was a compromise technique, but in retrospect we miss it sometimes, that antique look of early film. You can get plugins for paint software to simulate the look. Retro-adventure stories sometimes try to recapture it, as in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004):

Fay Wray is the beauty in this story, but my eye is drawn to tough-cookie, fast-talking girl reporter Glenda Farrell, bringing welcome comic wisecracking to the thriller:

This might have been a lost film on home video, but it has been included as an extra on the House of Wax (1953) discs, on both DVD and the 3D Blu-ray. The image is in pretty rough shape, and the version on the Blu-ray is the same standard definition scan as on the DVD.