House of Wax (1953) - full transcript
Professor Henry Jarrod is a true artist whose wax sculptures are lifelike. He specializes in historical tableau's such a Marie Antoinette or Joan of Arc. His business partner, Matthew Burke, needs some of his investment returned to him and pushes Jarrod to have more lurid exposes like a chamber of horrors. When Jarrod refuses, Burke set the place alight destroying all of his beautiful work in the hope of claiming the insurance. Jarrod is believed to have died in the fire but he unexpectedly reappears some 18 months later when he opens a new exhibit. This time, his displays focus on the macabre but he has yet to reproduce his most cherished work, Marie Antoinette. When he meets his new assistant's beautiful friend, Sue Allen, he knows he's found the perfect model - only unbeknown to anyone, he has a very particular way of making his wax creations.
what are you doing here so late?
I came to get the books.
I want to study our accounts.
We've been doing very well lately.
Over 200 paid admissions today.
You call that good Saturday business?
If you weren't so stubborn,
we'd be turning them away from here.
Who cares a hang about history in wax?
There are people in the world
who love beauty.
But more who want sensation, shock!
Morbidly curious! I won't cater to them.
Their money is as good as anybody else's.
You should have seen them turning
them away at that Wax Museum...
on 23rd Street tonight: The Eden Mus?e.
The story's the same at
Madame Tussaud's in London.
- If you'd only listened to me...
- I know, Matthew.
I'd put in a Chamber of Horrors:
Murder, torture, executions...
scare the life out of people.
I don't care for that kind of patronage!
You're a great artist, a genius sculptor.
I'm an ordinary businessman who wants
a quick return on his investment.
I've put $20,000
in this historic peep show of yours.
- I could use that to better advantage.
- All right, Matthew.
I've known for some time
you wanted to dissolve our partnership.
- I may be able to accommodate you.
A friend is bringing Sidney Wallace,
the art critic, to see my work tonight.
Wallace is rich, and I think
I might persuade him to buy you out.
That sounds interesting.
- I'll want a profit on my investment.
- Yes, Matthew.
You leave everything to me,
and I promise you it will be...
- That should be they, now.
- I'll wait in the office.
I've heard of Wallace.
He has a pot of money.
If he likes your stuff, put a stiff price on it.
- Does Jarrod live here?
- Yes, he has a room upstairs.
You'll like him, Sidney.
He speaks your language.
Please come in.
I'm happy to see you, Bruce.
I thought you wouldn't come
on such a bad night.
We were delayed.
He had to be at a gallery.
Mr. Sidney Wallace. Professor Jarrod.
- A pleasure.
- For me also, Professor.
That title was bestowed on me
when I became an exhibitor.
It has little to do with my real work.
If you come, I will show you
what that work is.
The visit of such a distinguished critic...
may cause my children
to become conceited.
To you, they're wax. But to me,
their creator, they live and breathe.
Here we have two great lovers
from the past.
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt,
and Mark Antony. Their last meeting.
You'll recall, Antony,
believing Cleopatra to be dead...
killed himself with his own sword.
When Cleopatra found out what happened,
she quickly followed her lover.
You noticed how cleverly
the hair is mounted on the scalp?
Yes. How do you do that?
Real hair of the proper color and texture...
is pressed into the slightly warmed wax
with a scalpel...
one hair at a time.
Each wave and curl
of the subject's own hair is reproduced.
Here's President Lincoln and his assassin,
John Wilkes Booth...
one of my few concessions
to the macabre.
That's the best figure of Booth I've ever
seen. You almost expect him to speak.
- I wonder what he'd say.
- I'm sure he'd rant a bit.
Even after he shot Lincoln and jumped
from the President's box onto the stage...
he couldn't resist turning to the audience
and taking a bow.
I found him a very stubborn person.
For days I argued with this fellow
before he posed the way I wanted him to.
- You mean, he talked back to you?
- Of course.
It's not easy to shut an actor's mouth.
These groups are like
dimensional paintings of the old masters.
This is not only a great show,
it's an art exhibit.
That's what I told you.
Here we have Joan of Arc,
a favorite subject of mine.
- I understand that. It's beautifully done.
- Thank you.
I've done her over a dozen times,
and still she doesn't complain.
What was wrong with her?
There are no
authentic portraits available...
so sculptors and painters
have to work from models.
I've never found the right one,
but I will someday.
It's a shame to race through this exhibit.
These figures should be studied.
You're very kind.
My creations have some merit, I suspect...
but in bringing back to life
the lovely Marie Antoinette...
I feel I've done my best work.
I've never seen anything so exquisite.
People say they can see
my Marie Antoinette breathe...
that her breast rises and falls.
Look at her eyes,
they follow you wherever you go.
She is very real to me.
You know, her eyes do follow you.
They're made of glass, more's the pity.
The exact size and color of the original.
They're inserted into the sockets
by way of the hollow neck,
before the head is attached to the body.
Forgive me, my dear,
for discussing your intimate secrets.
I'm sorry. I lose myself at times.
If people knew what you have
inside these walls...
you couldn't accommodate the crowds.
What you need here is exploitation,
- That's what I've been telling him.
- My partner wouldn't agree.
He's not happy here.
He wants to invest in something else.
Would you become a partner
in this venture? Would you buy him out?
I might be interested if my
lawyers approve and the price is right.
With your support, I'd do wonders.
I'd make any sacrifice.
Unfortunately, I'm leaving for Egypt.
I'm financing some excavations there.
I'll be back in three months,
then we can discuss...
You make me very happy.
You intrigue me, Professor.
I believe we'd get along together.
- Good night.
- Good night.
- And I'm grateful to you...
- It's all right.
Thank you for your visit
and your encouragement.
I'll see you in three months.
- Good night.
- Good night.
Mr. Wallace is a great art critic, darling.
You heard what he said.
Does he make you happy?
Of course you'd say that.
But I don't care about success.
The world will acknowledge your beauty.
And you, my friends...
Cleopatra, Mark Antony,
Lincoln, Joan of Arc, all of you.
How would it suit you to be famous again?
I know it'll please you,
you conceited devil.
It was like you to get yourself shot down
in a burning barn.
Couldn't do it
without a spotlight, could you?
Do you really hear what they say?
A man has to be a little nuts
to be a good showman.
The sooner I'm out of it, the better.
You'll be out soon, Matthew.
Mr. Wallace returns from Egypt
in three months.
He'll be ready to talk business then.
- I heard him. That's no good for me.
- But, surely...
I want to buy something. It'll pay off
in a big way and three months is too late.
What guarantee do I have
that he won't go cold on the deal?
- Sorry. It's the best I could do.
- I can do better.
How would you like
to split $25,000 with me?
And you call me crazy?
You ever thought of what would happen
if we had a fire here?
In the cellar, there are six barrels of wax.
Wax is paraffin based.
It's highly inflammable.
This place would go up like a paint factory.
Burn? Burn all my people?
- Do you think I'm a murderer?
- Stop dreaming.
These dummies are insured for $25,000.
That's $12,500 for each of us.
You'd have money to begin again.
I'd rather die myself
than see my friends destroyed.
I won't let you do it,
and I'll kill you if you try.
Don't be stupid.
All you have to do is to strike a match
and the thing is done.
Yes, my friend was a genius.
A great artist.
Only I could understand him.
We were like that, Cathy. Just like that.
- Couldn't they ever find him after the fire?
- Not a sign of him.
The place burned like a paint factory.
Like a volcano.
He was such an impractical fellow.
But I still loved him.
Had I been there, I might have saved him.
You might have gotten burned yourself.
Yes. Such is life.
No matter how much we lose,
we must still go on living.
Was there any insurance
on the Wax Museum?
Yes. I had a little difficulty about that.
According to the partnership agreement...
the money was to go
to the survivor of the others.
The insurance company
insists upon proof of my partner's death.
They always want a corpse.
But they settled finally.
This afternoon, in fact.
Certified check. I got it cashed.
The money is in my safe.
- You know what that means, baby?
- No, what?
That little trip
I was talking to you about...
You're such a card!
- How much did you get?
Where would you like to go? Atlantic City?
We can get the license in Buffalo.
- Yes. You know.
Why not? It might be fun.
Waiter, my check.
Pull it tighter, Sue.
I want a waist like Anna Held.
If I pull it any tighter,
you're not going to be able to breathe.
That's all right.
I don't need much breath, anyway.
As my late friend Matty used to say:
"If a girl don't watch her figure,
the men won't."
Wasn't that the man you were to marry?
Yes, but he hung himself instead.
Matty was such a card.
Where is your new friend
gonna take you tonight?
The Hoffman House for dinner,
and then to a vaudeville show.
- That sounds like fun.
- He's a free spender, all right.
Little bit older than I like 'em,
but very distinguished looking.
- Is he nice?
- Awfully nice.
A real gentleman,
except when he has had a couple of drinks.
That's to be expected.
I'm moving up.
I'm moving up in the world, honey.
No girl ever hits the jackpot
till after she passes 14th Street.
- Is that how it goes?
Look at me.
Not too long ago,
I was down on Delancey Street.
And tonight I'll be right up there
among the bright lights on 23rd.
Now, when you get up there tonight,
don't drink too much.
Don't worry, I won't.
He keeps trying to pour the liquor into me,
but I always manage to keep my head.
After all, now that I'm going regular
with a swell...
I got social obligations.
You know how it is when a fella...
No, of course you don't know.
You're not like me. You never could be.
You got all the brains
and all I've got is what I've got.
You know, I'm surprised
you even talk to me.
You've been so good to me.
A girl needs a friend
when she is down on her luck.
Holy smoke! Look at the time.
I've got to hurry.
Did you find a job yet?
No, but they need a hat-check girl
at the Silver Slipper...
and I've got an appointment
with the manager.
I know that fellow. Watch out for him.
- But why? What's the matter with him?
- Nothing much.
- Long as you know how to duck.
- That kind?
- Did you eat today?
- I had everything I needed.
To hear you tell it.
- Besides, you're behind in your room rent.
- Mrs. Flannigan will wait for me.
Don't count on that.
The old buzzard
almost locked me out once.
If I don't sizzle him tonight,
I might as well give up.
He's picking me up in a hansom cab.
No trolley for him. He is real society.
All I've got is 50 cents.
Buy some dinner with it.
- No, Cathy.
- Come on.
My friend will give me some money
tonight and then I'll stake you.
I don't need any mad money.
I never get mad.
Good luck tonight at the Silver Slipper.
And don't forget to duck.
Just a moment, Miss Allen.
- What are you coming in so quietly for?
- I didn't want to disturb anybody.
- Did you get the job?
- Why not?
- I had trouble with the boss.
You'll get your money.
Cathy promised to lend me some tonight
when she comes home.
You better get right up there, then.
Because she's home now.
- Couldn't it wait until tomorrow?
- No, it could not.
If you want to sleep in this house tonight,
you get that money.
All right, I'll try.
Cathy, it's Sue. Are you there?
I tell you, the scream came from up there.
Let's look into it.
- Usually there's a policeman at the corner.
- That's why I'm blowing the whistle.
- What is it, Mother?
- It's Sue.
This is a surprise.
I was just thinking about...
- What happened to you, dear?
- What's wrong?
- Wait a minute.
- What happened?
- Wait a minute.
- What is it?
Cathy Gray, the girl in my rooming house,
was murdered tonight.
- I found her.
The man who killed her
was there in the room.
I tried to get away from him.
But he followed me into the street.
No, Scott, please don't go out there.
It's all right, darling. Don't be frightened.
It's all right now, dear. You're safe.
- Who found the body?
- One of my roomers. A friend of Cathy's.
- Sue Allen.
- Which one is Miss Allen?
- She isn't here.
- Where is she?
I don't know. We heard her scream.
When we went looking for her,
she was gone.
- Are all your roomers in?
- All but Miss Allen.
Lt. Brennan will want a statement
from each one of you.
See that nobody leaves the house.
When I arrived at the rooming house,
this girl had been dead for several hours.
The immediate cause of death
The mark of a cord is still on her throat.
My examination indicated
she'd probably been given a drug.
- You were right.
- What was it?
Something to make her sleep.
I'll know as soon as we hear
from the laboratory.
How long would it take
for such a drug to work?
That would depend upon
how much it was diluted.
It was probably given to her in a drink.
That's how it's usually done.
- Business is slow tonight.
- Three suicides and two murders...
- And a traffic case since 9:00.
The fellow got hit by an automobile.
I didn't think they go fast enough
to hurt anybody.
Give them time.
They're getting better every day.
I hope you like it here, honey.
It's the best we've got.
- What's the matter with this one?
- You'll get used to that.
The embalming fluid makes them jump.
One of the suicides. Just like a woman.
They always have to have the last word.
- Why didn't you tell the police?
- She's doing that.
Last night was the time to do it.
- She was in no condition to come here.
- This is murder, Mrs. Andrews.
The body of Cathy Gray
was stolen from the morgue last night.
Why would anyone
want to take Cathy's body?
We are as much in the dark as you are.
We had a similar case before.
I read about that.
a Deputy City Attorney disappeared.
We found no trace of him.
We could've laid our hands
on that man that you saw last night.
That's the strangest description
I've ever heard.
- No human being can look like that.
- Sure you didn't imagine it?
I did see him.
Just as I described him to you.
He was incredible, but very real.
Could he be the man
who took Miss Gray to dinner?
She told me
that he was very good-looking.
That's what the landlady said,
it's a man with gray hair.
We have no suspects
fitting your description.
If we did,
we'd have him in the crazy house.
Don't leave town. Where can we find you?
27 Lafayette Street.
- Miss Allen will stay in our home.
- Make sure of that. She's our only witness.
That's all. Thank you.
How do you do?
I received a letter giving this address
and signed Professor Jarrod.
But I know the Professor's dead.
Can you tell me who wrote this letter?
My name is Sidney Wallace.
It's so good...
Forgive me. Shaking hands with me
is an unpleasant experience.
My hands are no longer hands.
Sit down, please.
This is Igor. He's a deaf-mute.
He is one of my assistants.
I'm going to open another wax museum
under a different name.
- It startled you, seeing me here?
- I thought you were dead.
Jarrod is dead. I am a reincarnation.
When I saw your signature,
I thought somebody was fooling me.
I don't understand
how you escaped the fire.
It's a mystery to me, too.
All I can remember is
that I tried to get out of my studio.
- I failed at first, but here I am.
- What a frightful experience.
Somehow I made my way
to the house of a doctor.
I still have my limbs but
they won't bear the weight of my body.
As for my hands,
they are no use to me now.
As a sculptor, I can't control them.
But they serve for ordinary functions.
- But you're beginning again?
- With the help of my pupils, yes.
I'm rebuilding my exhibition
from the ground up.
I'm going to give the people
what they want:
Sensation, horror, shock.
Send them out in the streets
to tell their friends...
how wonderful it is to be scared to death.
I'll show you one of my subjects.
Do you recall the case of Kemmler,
the first man to die in the electric chair?
- Igor is working on a model of his head.
He has a strange obsession,
this mute of mine.
Every head he models
takes on the shape of his own face.
But in this case I humor him,
for he somewhat resembles Kemmler.
Crimes of violence
will be reproduced in wax...
and exhibited while they are still fresh
in the public mind.
What do you think of my scheme?
It will succeed, commercially,
though it doesn't sound like you.
- Have you turned your back on beauty?
But I can no longer create it.
- I never forgot your Marie Antoinette.
- Nor have I.
She will be the leading lady
of my new exhibition.
But I must find her first.
- Find her?
- A model, I mean.
Yes, there will be beauty,
for contrast, if nothing else.
But each subject must be taken from life.
How can I convince my audience
they're alive, if I don't believe it myself?
I have something I think will interest you.
You follow Igor down into the basement.
I have to go my own way.
Here we are. Interesting, isn't it?
One of my pupils is about to dip a body
into a bath of wax.
The bodies are constructed separately...
to exact specifications,
of reinforced plaster of Paris.
This is Leon, another one of my pupils.
- Mr. Wallace.
- How do you do?
The wax is melted in the cauldron
you see above the vat...
liquefied and brought to a boiling point...
so that it will distribute itself
evenly over the body.
The head and hands,
tinted by my own secret process...
are attached to the body
after it is covered with its skin of wax.
I wondered how it was done.
It's a method of my own.
Crude but adequate.
- Have you found a home for your museum?
- This is it, the building upstairs.
We'll continue to use the cellar
as the workshop...
it's an excellent location, and the building
can be leased at the right price.
I have some capital, but I need more.
$30,000, at least.
That's why I've asked you to come here.
- I'll think it over.
She is about right, now.
Leon, drain out the surplus,
and let her cool.
Leon, open up number 27.
Come this way, please.
I told you that I intend to exhibit
scenes of violence.
Here is an interesting subject.
A mystery they are still talking about.
All right, Leon.
I saw his picture in the papers.
This is a remarkable likeness.
- But it can't be a death mask.
- No, it's from memory.
He hanged himself in an elevator shaft.
Come in, ladies and gentlemen.
See the House of Wax.
See the Chamber of Horrors.
Here's three lovely ladies right over here.
Would you like to see Little Egypt?
Here she is, ladies and gentlemen,
Little Egypt, Queen of the Harem...
who danced at the Colombian Exposition
in Chicago in 1893.
Is she wax, or is she flesh and blood?
See the world in wax, the Hall of Fame.
The Chamber Of Horrors.
A cultural exhibition
that'll enlighten you, amaze you...
- I think I could do that.
- No, you couldn't.
I could, too, if I took my stays off.
Don't do that. Don't talk that way.
Watch it, young lady.
Careful, sir. Keep your head down
or I'll tap you on the chin.
That's a becoming hat you're wearing.
I wonder if I could clip a flower off it.
Hold steady, now. Don't move your head.
Or you'll lose the powder off your nose.
There is someone with a bag of popcorn.
Close your mouth,
it's the bag I'm aiming at.
Not your tonsil. Here she comes.
Look at that, it's in the bag.
See the lovely centers of ancient times,
ladies and gentlemen.
Beauties who died and tortured
out on the block.
Visit our Chamber of Horrors.
And pass the time of day
with notorious murderers...
who killed with the rope,
the knife, and the axe.
Thrills, chills, a lot of dirt
for a price within the reach of all.
I hope you don't think I've gone too far
hiring this fellow to bring people in.
- He makes it sound like a sideshow.
- Try him for a week or two.
Once we're established,
we won't need that sort of thing.
He looks like a real man.
You'd be surprised.
It's a real man. Sorry.
The historic figures I'm about to show you
will be more interesting...
when I tell you that their faces were
molded from the original death masks...
now in the possession
of certain European governments.
First, we have Anne Boleyn...
second wife of Henry the Vlll,
and the mother of Queen Elizabeth.
With the executioner
Henry borrowed from the French king...
so that Anne's head would be cleaved
from her body without too much pain.
He was a thoughtful husband, Henry.
It was he who invented
the short cut to divorce.
A very bad pun, I'm afraid.
Here is another scene of historic violence.
Charlotte Corday and Marat...
one of the leaders
of the French Revolution.
The lady found him taking a bath,
and plunged the knife into his heart.
- Quelle femme terrible!
- What a shocking thing.
Yes, wasn't it? The poor man
was dreadfully embarrassed.
The exhibits in this room
will be added to...
from time to time
as various crimes are committed.
You'll read about them
in your newspaper...
and see them enacted here
in waxen tableaux.
By the way, ladies...
this is how your ancestor
carried his bride across the threshold.
During the French Revolution...
a certain doctor invented
a labor-saving device...
to take the place of a headmen's ax.
So successful was this machine...
at cutting off the heads
of the French aristocrats...
they named it after its creator.
Here it is, the bloody guillotine.
I don't think I can stand it.
Pull yourself together.
Twelve years ago, the electric chair
was first used in New York state.
Here we have an authentic reproduction...
of the execution of William Kemmler
on August 3, in 1890.
Kemmler killed without mercy
and 2,000 volts sent him to a higher court.
The torture of the rack. In this case...
Lady Anne Askew, an English noblewoman
accused of treason...
is being put to the question.
Needless to say,
she admitted she was a traitor.
under that sort of pressure?
- Is it your corset?
- It's my stomach. It turned over.
Mine turned over, too.
Now, my friends...
we have that jolly old gentleman
known as the modern Bluebeard.
Like his namesake,
he killed not wisely, but too well...
and did away with eight wives.
- Smelling salts, ladies? Help yourself.
- Thank you very much.
Next door to him, we have a mystery
of more recent date.
Matthew Burke, the stockbroker.
He was found hanged in the elevator shaft
of the building where he had his offices.
Was it murder or suicide?
Only time will tell.
"Foul deeds will rise, though all the world
o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes."
- You like him?
- He looks exactly like my Uncle Rufus.
They ought to have a policeman like this
in the Eden Mus?e.
- Haven't you been there?
From what I see in the papers,
this museum is even better.
We'll soon find out.
Meet my good friend, Mr. Sidney Wallace.
- Miss Sue Allen.
- A pleasure.
- I heard you were in town.
- You should have looked me up.
I expect great things of Scott.
He's one of our most promising sculptors.
- Has he been working hard?
- He never knows when to stop.
- Sue's been posing for me.
- Indeed, lovely subject.
She's not a professional model.
She's a guest.
Our mothers were great friends.
- Have you been inside?
- Is it exciting?
If anything, too much so.
But I'm sure it'll catch on.
Jarrod, the owner,
is a good friend of mine.
You'll be interested in him.
Let's go in, shall we?
- These figures are excellent.
- I thought you'd agree with me.
They're not only well done
but they're good theater.
- What do you think?
- I know they are only wax...
but they seem so real,
just looking at her makes my neck hurt.
Wait till you see the Chamber of Horrors.
I told Jarrod he should have
a nurse on duty there.
He lost the use of his hands.
- Who did these figures?
- His pupils, but he supervised the work.
- His is the mastermind.
- Surely knows his anatomy.
Sue, what is it?
- Are you crying?
- What's wrong, Miss Allen?
A dear friend of mine was murdered
and I found her.
She means Cathy Gray, the girl
whose body was stolen from the morgue.
What made you think of her now?
That's her face. I know every line of it.
I wake up at night and I see it.
I can't get it out of my mind.
Perhaps that's the reason
you see a resemblance.
- It's more than a resemblance.
- It's wax, my dear.
I know, but...
But why should it be so like Cathy?
I think I can explain that.
- This is a pleasure.
- You see, Miss Allen...
I heard what the young lady said.
The figure of Joan of Arc
is a traditional exhibit in wax museums.
It was completed just in time
for our opening tonight.
You're right, my dear.
It is more than a chance resemblance.
When I create an important figure,
I can't take just any face.
I saw pictures of your Cathy Gray
in the newspaper.
Her face fascinated me. And here she is.
Immortalized as the victim
of an earlier event.
- Do you really think she'd mind?
- No, I don't think she'd mind.
Cathy loved to "dress up" as she called it.
She used to take fancy dresses...
and imitate the actresses
she saw in the theater.
- I don't think she'd mind.
- Then I'm forgiven?
There's nothing to forgive.
I just don't understand
how it can seem so real.
That's the finest compliment
I have ever received. Thank you, my dear.
Did I hear your name correctly,
- Yes, Mr. Jarrod.
- The sculptor I've been telling you about.
Sidney showed me
photographs of your work.
He was right. You have great promise.
- What are you doing now?
- I'm doing a head of Miss Allen.
Let me see your hands.
Mine were once like that.
How I envy you.
Would you be interested in some modeling
for me, some originals I have in mind?
Yes. I'd be honored.
Good. Come here tomorrow morning,
we'll make the arrangements.
I think you'll like it.
I want you to look at this girl.
- With pleasure.
- Who does she remind you of?
I've been wondering about that.
I haven't known her
more than 10 minutes...
but there's something about her face...
That haunts you as the face
of my Marie Antoinette has haunted me.
Of course. I should have seen it at once.
A figure in wax.
Mr. Jarrod's greatest work.
More than wax. She lived.
- You mean I look like she did?
- Exactly as she did.
Once in his lifetime,
every artist feels the hand of God...
and creates something that comes alive.
So it was with my Marie Antoinette.
And I loved her.
But she is gone now. Horribly destroyed.
Perhaps you would help me
to bring her back.
You will come to see me? Soon?
I'd be glad to.
You'll be welcome at any time,
no matter what I'm doing.
- And you, Mr. Andrews, in the morning...
- I'll be here, very eager to begin.
It has been a very exciting day for me
and I'm a little tired.
So if you'll forgive me, I'll say good night.
Sidney, one moment, please.
Excuse me, I'll be right back.
Forget about it.
You heard what Mr. Jarrod said.
Cathy's face was inspiration.
It's a portrait in wax.
Why should it seem so real?
I hate to drag you away.
That's fine. I'm going to work here.
We'll see it all another time.
Yes, another time.
Still time to see the entire exhibition,
ladies and gentlemen.
Get your tickets from the fine little lady
in the box office and go right in.
See the world in wax
and improve your mind.
See the Chamber of Horrors
and scare yourself out of a year's growth.
What happened? Why did you scream?
I saw Cathy again.
And the man who killed her
was right here in this room.
I must have been dreaming.
Of course you were, dear.
A lager for the gentleman.
Sarsaparilla for the lady.
- And two knockwurst on rye.
- Thank you.
- Enjoying yourself?
- It's exciting.
- Do nice people come here?
- Of course.
- These Sunday matinees are very popular.
- I don't know.
It doesn't seem proper,
all those girls showing their talents.
You never saw a show
like this in Provincetown?
Don't worry, your reputation is safe.
You've been worrying too much...
about wax figures
and seeing monsters in your dreams.
You need something like this
to bring you back to normalcy.
Remember Mr. Jarrod said he first saw
Cathy's picture in the newspaper.
Yes. What's wrong with that?
I knew her so well.
I knew every little expression
and they are all there.
They would be. The man's an artist.
There's something else I saw
that night in the museum.
Cathy had a habit
of wearing an earring in her right ear.
She had the lobe of her right ear only
pierced for that.
But that's there, too.
How could he see that in a photograph?
- How can he make it so real unless...
Unless it is Cathy.
I'm going to take you
to Lt. Brennan's office tomorrow.
Tell him exactly what you told me here.
He's a policeman, he knows.
He'll convince you once and for all
that no such thing could happen.
Now relax, honey, and enjoy the show.
I know it sounds fantastic,
but you asked me to tell you everything.
You can see this idea is an obsession,
an unhealthy one, if you ask me.
- You say Jarrod is a cripple?
- He uses a wheelchair.
He can walk with crutches,
but not very well.
Such a man came and asked to see
police photographs of Cathy Gray.
That's how it's done. Every detail
is studied to make the features true to life.
But why should Joan of Arc
have her right ear pierced?
- Why not? They wore them then.
- Two, not one.
Lieutenant, it's not a suspicion.
It's more a kind of fear, an intuition.
Intuition isn't much help in police work.
Facts are what we need.
Suppose you forget about it,
and let us do the worrying.
You mean you'll investigate it?
- Of course he does.
- Yes, that's what I mean.
- You both think I'm crazy.
- We think nothing of the kind.
It was very good of you to listen
and be so patient. Thank you.
This is Brennan speaking. Give me Shane.
Hello. I want you to go
to the City License Bureau...
and check up
on a man named Henry Jarrod.
Yes, he opened a museum
on 29th Street, near Broadway.
Yes, The House of Wax.
Dig up all you can. Get a list
of his employees and check with me here.
That's a copy of her face, all right.
But she didn't look like that
when I saw her.
- Not so composed.
- Poor kid.
You know, this fellow Jarrod's good.
- You think Miss Allen's fears are justified?
- Heck, no. Do you?
That's wax, how could it be anything else?
Leave it to a skirt
to dream up a crazy idea like that.
So you did come to see me,
my Marie Antoinette?
Or was it that you came to see?
Mr. Jarrod, I'm so sorry. I know
I'm not supposed to touch the figures.
You couldn't help yourself.
Don't let it trouble you.
I beg your pardon,
this is Leon Averill and Igor.
- How do you do?
- Igor isn't impolite. He simply can't talk.
Leon is an artist in his own right.
It was he who did the waxwork
on the figure of Joan of Arc.
- Does she still seem real to you?
- As life itself.
Of course, her hair is different,
but that doesn't change her face.
What puzzles me is
how you can get such detail from a photo.
Was Cathy wearing her earrings
when the police photographed her?
Earrings? I don't remember.
Was she, Leon?
No. I don't think so.
The police would remove the jewelry
from the body, wouldn't they?
Yet you were careful to show that
both her ears had been pierced for them.
Yes, of course.
If I missed a detail of that sort,
Mr. Jarrod would be most displeased.
He insists on reality.
I can understand that.
Just a moment, Leon.
There's something in this box
I think would interest you. Open it, Leon.
Your Mr. Andrews permitted us
to make a cast of the head he did of you.
Leon has just finished it in wax.
Do you like it?
It's sort of a shock
to see your head detached that way.
- I guess it's a very good likeness.
- Yes, and no.
Andrews is clever,
but like all modern sculptors...
he has too much imagination.
He would improve on nature.
What I need for my Marie Antoinette
The real you.
Nothing less will satisfy me.
Will you come to see me again, my dear?
You know this fellow Jarrod's
quicker at finding these guys than we are?
That's what he says in his advertising.
Look at that. Even the twist in the neck.
That's a case that gets me.
Where is Burke? Who got him?
- Who'd want him?
- We better find out pretty quick.
- Did you read the blast in today's World?
- Yeah, it's dynamite.
The Chief had me in his office
If I'm not careful,
I'll be pounding a beat in the Bronx.
Come here, Jim.
Do you remember Patterson, the
Deputy City Attorney who disappeared?
Does Booth look like Wilbur,
or am I crazy?
He does a tad with the brush off his lip.
The hair is different, of course,
but the features are like Patterson's.
Maybe he looked like Booth. I've seen
dummies that look like people I know.
The caveman is a spitting image
of the new Commissioner.
Please. Don't touch the exhibits.
- Can't you read the sign?
- I'm sorry.
Look, where'd you get the face
for this guy that shot Lincoln?
- From photographs.
- They take them at that time?
If you go to the City Library...
you'll find the volume of Mathew Brady's
photos taken during the Civil War.
- Do you work here?
- You make these things?
- Some of them.
What's your name?
Leon Averill. What's yours?
Jim Shane. I'm an engineer on the
9th Avenue El. It was nice meeting you.
You know me. I'm no good at names,
but I don't forget faces.
If I can take the muff off of that one
I might be able to place it.
It was a long time ago.
Mr. Wallace, I'm Lt. Brennan. Sgt. Shane.
- Glad to know you.
- Won't you sit down?
- Sorry I kept you waiting.
- That's all right.
This is the first time I've been
asked to come to Police Headquarters.
What am I suspected of?
Nothing. We thought perhaps
you might be able to help us.
We heard that your partner
is the same Professor Jarrod...
whose museum on 24th Street
burned down some time ago.
This Professor Jarrod was
supposed to have been killed in the fire.
- Apparently, a slight mistake.
- You suspect him of some criminal act?
- We haven't a thing on him.
- We're curious.
So is the insurance company.
What do you know about his employees?
- There's Scott Andrews, a prot?g? of mine.
- Yes, we know of him.
Then there's Igor, deaf-mute,
and Leon Averill, who does the wax work.
Averill's an odd character.
Periodical drunkard, but a fine artist.
I've seen some of his sketches.
One of the Savior with his disciples.
- I'm afraid I haven't been much help.
- You never can tell. Thank you.
- Please don't mention this to your partner.
- I won't.
You know, I gamble on Jarrod.
He's strange, unpredictable,
but I think he's a man of integrity.
- I'm sure of it. Thank you very much.
- Not at all. Good day, gentlemen.
Remember I told you
I knew the man with the whiskers?
Do you remember that artist in Sing Sing
who painted The Last Supper on his cell?
Hendricks. They called him a genius
and gave him a parole.
But when they turned him loose,
he became a drunk.
He broke parole a year ago.
We've had him on the wanted list since.
- Carl Hendricks?
- That's him. Alias, Leon Averill.
- Bring him in.
- Can do.
A little more bitterness
in that face, my boy.
Remember, this fellow has been
badly used by the world...
and he despises all the people in it.
Deepen those lines
around the corner of the mouth.
Not too much.
There. That's better.
What I wouldn't give
to have those fingers of yours.
- Thank you, Mr. Jarrod.
- I'm sorry I kept you so late tonight, Scott.
That's all right.
Miss Allen is meeting me here.
It's her birthday.
We're going to celebrate at Chiles'.
I was worried. The shock of finding
that murdered girl gave her strange ideas.
I took her to Lt. Brennan, he set her right.
That's very good now. Excellent.
Before you go, would you mind
running over to Metzgers for me?
- Where they make the artificial flowers.
They're doing a background
for this new group. Take a look at it.
You know what I want.
Advise them on the color scheme.
I'd go myself,
but it's so hard for me to get about.
I know. I'll be glad to do it.
I'll go right now.
Thank you very much.
I followed him through his bender.
Sometimes, he gets the shakes so bad,
you expect to see his teeth fall off.
- Is this all he had on him?
"To Wilbur Patterson...
"With affection and admiration.
"City Attorney's Office.
December 25, 1900."
Where did you get this?
- I found it.
- On the El.
- What line?
- Third Avenue, downtown.
I don't remember, it was months ago.
- Book him on suspicion of murder.
- No. I found that.
I never knew the man who owned it.
I never saw him.
Lock him up.
Please don't put me in a cell. I'm sick.
Can't you see my nerves are all shattered?
Look, please give me one little...
Can I have one little drink...
You're not going to get anything
until you tell us where you got this watch.
- Take him out.
- Let's go.
You shouldn't have done that, my dear.
It is Cathy.
It's Cathy's body under the wax.
I knew it. I knew it all the time.
Everything I ever loved
has been taken away from me.
Not you, my Marie Antoinette,
for I will give you eternal life.
This is where I recreated my Joan of Arc.
It's an interesting process.
If you have patience with me, my dear,
I'll show you how it's done.
I can't stand it.
All right, I'll tell you what I know.
Patterson was killed
because he looked like Booth.
- You killed him.
- No, not I. Jarrod, at the waxworks.
His hands were no good.
He had to take subjects from life.
- You helped him?
- No, they were already dead.
What about Burke?
He's there, too. In wax.
He was the one
who set fire to the old museum.
Jarrod came out of it alive, but insane.
- Cathy Gray?
- Joan of Arc. That's Cathy.
She's there with all the rest of them.
The whole place is a morgue.
He'll do the same to Sue Allen,
if he gets his hands on her.
You've got to stop him
before he does any more killing.
That look of horror spoils your lovely face.
What if it should show,
even through the wax?
Are you in there?
Where is she?
The end will come quickly, my love.
There's a pain beyond pain,
an agony so intense...
it shocks the mind into instant oblivion.
We'll find immortality together...
for they'll remember me through you.
Andrews, where's Jarrod?
In the cellar. He's got Sue.
Take care of him.
The People's Exhibit Number One.
You almost lost your head. Would you
care to keep that one as a spare?
No, thank you.
We'll never forget you and your men.
Thanks to you, we're still alive.
But every time I shave,
I can still feel that guillotine blade.
- Please, let's not talk about it anymore.
- Yes, you're right.
Mr. Brennan, thank you
for the use of your coat.
- That was nothing.
- It meant a lot to me.
When I found
you weren't dressed too warmly...
I didn't want you to catch a cold.
Goodbye, Mr. Brennan,
and thanks for everything.
- Bless you, Mr. Shane.
- Thank you, Miss Allen.
By the time this guy
gets out of Sing Sing...
this head will grow a long beard.