Waxworks 1924
A poet (William Dieterle) takes a job to write back-stories about three exhibits in a carnival empresario's Wax Museum. He does so, and we see three stories where the poet and the empresario's daughter Eva (Olga Belajeff) play the ingenue leads. The first and longest tale is a fanciful farce in old Baghdad, where a baker becomes a criminal to impress his fickle wife, while the Caliph (Emil Jannings) goes out of his way to seduce her. In the second tale, the evil Ivan the Terrible (Conrad Veidt) poisons supposed enemies for fun, and callously uses a nobleman as a shield against assassins. But the madman's superstitions backfire on him. The final, very short third story is not a story at all, just a series of phantom illusions where the hero is threatened by Jack the Ripper.

Despite its narrative and structural imperfections, Waxworks is a prime example of German expressionism at its most vivid, comprising fantastic stories set in crazily distorted representations of familiar settings - and it is no accident that each revolves around a murderous tyrant. Influenced by Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) and F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922), Leni carves an unsettling dreamscape that is both freakishly absurd and subtly disturbing, the oddly proportioned sets lending a fearful manic potency to each of the villainous protagonists.

Directors: Leo Birinsky, Paul Leni
Cast: Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, William Dieterle
Country: Germany
Genre: Fantasy, Horror

BD25 | 1080p AVC | 01:21:43 | 22.1 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English intertitles
Subtitles: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese

Extras:
-- Der Film im Film (1925) documentary (17:44)

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DVD5 | NTSC 4:3 | 01:23:37 | 4.04 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English intertitles
Subtitles: none

Extras:
-- "Rebus Film Nr. 1" 1925 short by Paul Leni (15:24)
-- Excerpt from Douglas Fairbanks's The Thief of Bagdad (3:38)

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