Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Jack Warner (executive producer)
Hal B. Wallis (executive producer)
Robert Lord (associate producer)
Written by John Monk Saunders (story)
Seton I. Miller
Starring Errol Flynn
Music by Max Steiner
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date December 24, 1938
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
The Dawn Patrol is an excellent film about the futility of war and the waste of human life that they cause. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone are great in this but it is David Niven as Scotty who steals the film in my opinion. Scotty goes from being a happy-go-lucky pilot who thinks that war is an adventure and not really caring about anything. His persona slightly changes after he is recovered and he briefly confronts the German who shot him down, but it is not until his own brother has enlisted and is sent up with the squadron to tackle the hated Von Richter and his men in what will be certain doomed for an inexperienced rookie that his character changes completely.
The film is not so much about war, although there are some great aerial scenes (many of which were taken from the 1930 Howard Hawks version), but about the way it changes the men who have to fight it.
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Produced by Henry Blanke
Written by Story: Charles S. Belden
Screenplay: Carl Erickson & Don Mullaly
Starring Lionel Atwill
Music by Cliff Hess
Cinematography Ray Rennahan
Editing by George J. Amy
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures & Vitaphone Pictures
Release date February 17, 1933 (USA)
Running time 77 minutes
Country United States
In the last few months I have gone on quite a classic horror/sci-fi movie phase thanks to JB Hifi. I have already started with reviewing The Wolfman a couple of weeks ago, but I will not solely concentrate on the Universal monsters. It may be surprising to know but Universal did not have a monopoly on horror in the 1930s and 40s.
Mystery Of The Wax Museum is a 1933 Warner Bros. horror movie starring Lionel Atwill, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh and scream queen Fay (King Kong) Wray. The film was made in two-strip Technicolor, which makes it unique from other horror movies of the period. I do love the way the colours look with the two-strip system, perhaps even more so with the superior three-strip process. The film was also made before the Hays code was imposed onto movie makers, so it a little bit sexy, especially with the dialogue, which I suppose was a hallmark of Warner’s gangster films of the time.
Anyone who has seen House Of Wax will know the plot of this film. A museum owner uses real life bodies to make his wax sculptures more lifelike. The best friend of the heroine is wanted by the mad owner for his next masterpiece. House Of Wax was a remake of this film by Michael Curtiz, the famed director of some of Hollywood’s greatest films such as The Adventures Of Robin Hood and Casablanca. This film was made before the Hays code was introduced so some of the dialogue in particular is quite risqué and sexy.
I do like Farrell’s performance as the reporter who uncovers the mystery. Her character could be considered as being a pre-Women’s Liberation feminist, as she portrays a strong willed, brave and intelligent (if quirky) woman, while most of the men come of not so good. She was a veteran of Warner’s gangster films and her character here is very streetwise. Wray on the other hand is just required to look very pretty and give her trademark scream when it’s required. She really offers not much to the film at all.
Atwill is rightly menacing as the supposedly disabled sculptor Igor, who in the end turns out to be a murderous monster that has been using dipping the bodies of his victims into the hot wax to make his creations.
Mystery Of The Wax Museum was considered lost in a fire for a long time until a complete print turned up from Jack Warner’s private vault. It was the last of three two strip Technicolor films that Warner’s made in the early 30s. It is included as a special feature on the DVD of the 1953 version of House Of Wax. I really recommend that you buy House Of Wax on DVD because at the moment it is for sale really cheap. House Of Wax is a great movie and as it includes Mystery Of The Wax Museum as a bonus it is a must but for any fan of classic horror.