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Waxworks

4.5 out of 5 stars 100 ratings
IMDb6.1/10.0

Price: $37.99
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October 5, 2004
1
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In this rarely seen masterwork of the German Expressionist movement, a trilogy of terror is woven around the wax figures of a carnival show. An idealistic young poet (Wilhelm Dieterle, later to become a Hollywood director) is hired to write stories about the Chamber of Horrors' three most notorious figures: Jack the Ripper (Werner Krauss), Ivan the terrible (Conrad Veidt) and Haroun Al-Raschid (Emil Jannings). But as the uncanny tales flow from the poet's pen, he finds himself enveloped in the nightmare worlds of his own creation. One of the most innovative stylists of the German silent cinema, director Paul Leni (The Cat and the Canary, The Man Who Laughs) applied a variety of visual techniques to this ambitious anthology film, drawing from his years as a set designer under the great Max Reinhardt. From the fairy-tale Arabia of the Al-Raschid story (said to have inspired Douglas Fairbanks to make The Thief of Bagdad), to the dark and oppressive kingdom of Ivan the Terrible, to the whirling lights and swordlike shadows of the carnival through which Jack the Ripper stalks the protagonist, Leni managed to raise the techniques of German Expressionism to new conceptual heights.

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Lesser-known among silent German classics, Waxworks is a carnival of a movie inviting you to visit three distinct freak shows and sample the thrills and peculiarities each has to offer. A young poet (Wilhelm Dieterle, who became Hollywood director William Dieterle) is hired to pen "startling tales" about three figures on display in the Wachsfigurenkabinett. Somehow he and his boss's daughter (Olga Belajeff) win plum roles in each fantasia he concocts. The Arabian Nights episode, featuring Emil Jannings hamming it up as Caliph Haroun al-Raschid, boasts demented architecture and a blend of comedy and surrealism that inspired Douglas Fairbanks's Thief of Bagdad. Conrad Veidt, making a memorably mad Russian icon of Ivan the Terrible, towers amid episode 2's fiercely angular compositions. Then, still-unnerving double-exposure cinematography is used to bring "Spring Heel Jack" (Werner Krauss's version of Jack the Ripper) out of the realm of fantasy and menacingly into the real-world framing story. Get your ticket right here. --Richard T. Jameson

Product details

  • Aspect Ratio ‏ : ‎ 1.33:1
  • Is Discontinued By Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ No
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 7.75 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 3.61 Ounces
  • Item model number ‏ : ‎ 2254732
  • Director ‏ : ‎ Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 1 hour and 23 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ October 5, 2004
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, William Dieterle, Olga Belajeff
  • Dubbed: ‏ : ‎ Japanese
  • Producers ‏ : ‎ Alexander Kwartiroff, Leo Birinsky
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Kino Lorber films
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00006JMQI
  • Writers ‏ : ‎ Hans Brennert, Henrik Galeen, Paul Leni
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
100 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2011
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Steve H
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best We'll Get
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2020
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Felix
5.0 out of 5 stars Tangled tales of historical horror
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2012
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Simon Overton
1.0 out of 5 stars Should’ve waited for price drop.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 17, 2020
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stilletto
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 29, 2021
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K.M.
5.0 out of 5 stars "Masters of Cinema" von Eureka!
Reviewed in Germany on April 24, 2021
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