Directed by painter and set designer Paul Leni, this German silent film classic was recently restored by the Deutsche Kinemathek. Includes newly-composed music by Bernd Schultheis, Olav Lervik and Jan Kohl.
A young poet makes up fantastic tales around fairground versions of the characters Harun al-Raschid, Ivan the Terrible and Jack the Ripper. Wax replicas come alive in incredible episodes spanning a broad spectrum of dark and chilling Expressionistic ballads to burlesque farce. This playful combination of funny and frightening effects also included the poet himself playing various roles, alongside his love interest, the daughter of the waxworks’ owner.
Paul Leni’s Das Wachsfigurenkabinett premiered in Vienna in 1924. The Deutsche Kinemathek’s restored version available here is based on a 35mm nitrate copy at the British Film Institute National Archives (BFI). Additions were made from a nitrate copy of the French version of the film. The English intertitles in the BFI copy have been retained, because the texts from the original German intertitles have not survived.