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Waxworks (Das Wachsfigurenkabinett)

Scene from "Waxworks" (photo courtesy of Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek)

A show-booth owner employs a young poet to invent stories for the waxwork figures he exhibits. The poet accepts the commission so that he can be close to the owner’s beautiful daughter. Waxworks shows three of these stories, as inserted episodes. “Sultan Harun al Rachid” falls in love with the beautiful wife of a pie-maker, and comic-dramatic intrigues ensue. This is followed by the episode “Ivan the Terrible”. Czar Ivan has conceived a plan whereby his enemy is poisoned by a specially mixed brew; but he becomes obsessed by the fear that he himself will be poisoned and finally goes mad. The episode “Jack the Ripper” is particularly sinister. Real and invented characters whirl around to an eerie rhythm. But this turns out to be the poet’s dream vision - he has fallen asleep while writing - and he wakes up in the arms of his lover.
Genre Fantasy, Thriller, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1924
Director Paul Leni
Screenplay Henrik Galeen
Cinematography Helmar Lerski
Fritz Maurischat, Paul Leni
Cast Ernst Legal, Paul Biensfeldt, John Gottowt, Olga Belajeff, Wilhelm Dieterle, Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Emil Jannings, Georg John
Production Company Neptun Film, Berlin
Runtime 84 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
 silent with German intertitles
Intertitled Versions French
Festivals Cambridge Film Festival 2020

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