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Saturday, April 8, 2017

House Of Wax (1953)

Starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni
Directed by Andre de Toth
(actor & director credits courtesy

A young woman is shaken by her murdered roommate's resemblance to a figure of Joan of Arc in a new wax museum, and wary of the owner, a crippled man who wants her to pose for him.

Warner Brothers' remake of their effective 1933 film chiller, Mystery Of The Wax Museum, features Price in one of his earliest horror roles, and is well-staged by Andre de Toth for the 3-D cameras, its visual depth making the film a winning showcase for the format.  In many ways, I prefer the original movie, but Price is wonderful, bringing elegant charm as well as a disturbing mania to the forefront in his performance, an ironic duality that would prove a highlight of his many future roles.  Kirk is fine if not particularly distinguished as the female lead, outshone a bit by Jones as her more colorful roommate.  The sets are of a wonderful quality, and the production finds some inventively amusing ideas to throw at the camera from a paddle-ball possessing showman to an assortment of leg-baring dancing girls.  Keep an eye out for a young Charles Bronson as Price's deaf-mute assistant.

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