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UCLA: Doctor X, Mystery of the Wax Museum, Kennel Murder Case
January 13 @ 7:30 pm$10
UCLA Film & Television Archive presents a triple bill of early Technicolor mystery and horror films directed by Michael Curtiz. Alan K. Rode will sign copies of his new book “Michael Curtiz: A Life in Film” beginning at 6:30 p.m.
"Doctor X (1932)
Perhaps the most gruesome of the early sound horror movies was also the first of its genre filmed in two-strip Technicolor (and also in black and white). A series of brutal murders involving cannibalism occur under a full moon near Dr. Xavier’s (Lionel Atwill) laboratory, whose residents include his daughter (Fay Wray) and a quartet of weird scientists. Will reporter Lee Taylor (Lee Tracy, naturally) unmask the Moon killer in time? Scripted by ex-con Robert Tasker and Earl Baldwin with exquisite production design by Anton Grot.
35mm, Technicolor, 76 min. Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster, John Wray.
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)
This legendary horror classic was the last and best of Hollywood’s two-strip Technicolor features. A fire set by a double-crossing partner destroys sculptor Ivan Igor’s (Lionel Atwill) London museum with its dazzling array of historical wax figures. A crippled Igor opens a new museum in New York City as people and corpses suddenly begin to disappear. Co-starring Fay Wray (who bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Marie Antoinette) and the Warner Bros. wisenheimer duo of Glenda Farrell and Frank McHugh. Curtiz’s innovative camera work is accentuated by Anton Grot’s ethereal production design. Remade as House of Wax (1953).
35mm, Technicolor, 77 min. Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Glenda Farrell, Frank McHugh, Allen Vincent.
The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
Curtiz’s supple direction and a deft turn by William Powell makes for a masterpiece of a murder mystery that is the best screen adaptation of S.S. Van Dine’s famed sleuth Philo Vance. A society swell (Robert Barrat) involved with the Long Island Kennel Club turns up dead the next morning in his locked bedroom. Was it suicide or murder? There is no shortage of suspects (Mary Astor, Ralph Morgan, Frank Conroy, Paul Cavanagh and Jack La Rue) in this complex yarn that only Philo Vance (Powell) can unravel despite the dubious assistance of Detective Heath (Eugene Pallette) and District Attorney Markham (Robert McWade).
35mm, b/w, 73 min. Director: Michael Curtiz. Cast: William Powell, Mary Astor, Eugene Pallette, Ralph Morgan, Robert McWade.