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The longest sequence features Emil Jannings in an Arabian Nights setting which is more comic in tone and surprisingly erotic thanks to Olga Belajeff who plays the romantic lead in all three stories. The male lead is William Dieterle who plays the writer. He would give up acting and become a major director in Hollywood during the 30's and 40's. This is the first time this film has ever looked this good. It was restored from two differnt prints and has been properly tinted. The accompanying piano score is effective especially in the IVAN sequence.
WAXWORKS is not a great film but it is an important one. It is one of the first horror anthology films and boasts spectacular set designs for the three stories. While it won't scare you, it will entertain you and that is ultimately what it is all about. As mentioned earlier this is part of a quartet of silent German horror films newly restored and released on DVD. It can be purchased seperately but if you enjoy these type of films then spring for the whole package. In addition to NOSFERATU and CABINET OF DR CALIGARI, there is a striking new restoration of THE GOLEM.
First, Haroun Al-Raschid is played by Emil Jannings. This story is fairly humorous and very fun to watch, with a chase scene through an Escher-esque set as a baker tries to escape after a failed attempt at thievery.
This is followed by Ivan the Terrible, played by Conrad Veidt. Conrad plays an eerie, insane, and meglomaniacal potrayal of the famous tyrant. Ivan, as promised, is indeed, terrible and Conrad's acting adds volumes with this peek into murderous insanity.
Werner Krauss portrays Jack the Ripper in the third story (dreamed by the sleeping writer). His performance is grand and uncanny, though the association of Jack the Ripper with Spring Heeled Jack is highly erronious, and distracting. While Jack the Ripper never displayed any uncanny abilities to speak of (in the film as well), Spring Heeled Jack was known to leap great distances and heights and breath fire. These two characters have little in common, even down to the fact that there were numerous descriptions of Spring Heeled Jack by eye witnesses, and very few of Jack the Ripper. Additionally, Spring Heeled Jack is only credited with one murder, seemingly accidental. By combining them in such a poor manner, Leni does an injustice to two classic legends.
This film is classic of German Expressionism, and aside from bad scholarship, lives up to its reputation.Read more ›
German director Paul Leni (1885-1929) was one such--and although he is best recalled for his later Hollywood films, most notably the stylish THE CAT AND THE CANARY, the 1924 German WAXWORKS shows him very near the peak of gifts. It is also very clearly an homage of sorts to THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI; not only would Leni cast two of that film's actors in major roles, he drew from the film's style for both sets and cinematography.
WAXWORKS is an "anthology" film, a collection of stories bound together by a running thread. A young writer (William Dieterle) is employed by a carnival sideshow wax museum to write stories about several of their figures: a Baghdad Caliph, Ivan the Terrible, and Spring Heeled Jack. As he writes, the film segues into the story the writer invents.
The longest of the three stories concerns Harun al Raschid, a Caliph of Baghdad who falls in love with a baker's wife--and then seeks to take her for his own. Featuring the celebrated Emil Jannings as the Caliph, the episode is a mixture of light comedy and Arabian Nights fantasy, particularly noted for the greatly stylized sets that recall the earlier CALIGARI and THE GOLEM to somewhat softer effect. It also offers the very rare opportunity to see Jannings, famed for his dramatic roles, in comic mode, and he proves equally adept with this bit of fluff as with his more "serious" work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kino International included Paul Leni`s 1924 Waxworks in its German Horror Classics collection. While the usual Kino craftsmanship has gone into remastering and merchandising, the... Read morePublished on December 17, 2011 by THE BLUEMAHLER
Even if you're not a silent movie fan, this is still a great movie.
In it, we enter the Waxworks where a new writer is being engaged to spin tales about three wax... Read more
Directed by Paul Leni in 1924, WAXWORKS is a silent film from the German Expressionist movement that predates MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM by nearly a decade. Read morePublished on October 4, 2010 by Carl Manes
A man answers an ad for a carnival. He is to tell the story of 3 infamous people in history who will be presented in wax in the waxworks. Read morePublished on October 21, 2008 by Lynn Ellingwood
1924's Waxworks is one of those films whose credits are more impressive than it's achievements. Directed by The Man Who Laughs' Paul Leni and starring Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt... Read morePublished on April 28, 2008 by Trevor Willsmer
While this film might not be as famous or top-notch as other examples of German Expressionism, such as 'Metropolis' (1927) or 'The Golem' (1920), it is an interesting entry into... Read morePublished on November 14, 2006 by Anyechka
Waxworks is an anthology film directed with great German expressionism flair by Paul Leni. The horror element is liberally mixed with irony, humor and amazing escapes. Read morePublished on July 9, 2006 by C. O. DeRiemer
A man answers an ad asking for an `imaginative writer.' The waxwork displays in a fair sideshow need some interesting words thrown their way. Read morePublished on April 17, 2005 by Steven Hellerstedt