Friday, October 25, 2013

Two Hearts in Wax Time

Last night just before House of Wax kicked off Vincent Price night on TCM, they showed the short Two Hearts in Wax Time. It turned out to be one I'm pretty certain I've seen before on TCM. The short does seem to be available, on an old DVD version of the 1935 version of David Copperfield. Amazingly, this is one that the TCM Shop says you can't buy -- or more accurately, it says they have no DVDs available for the 1935 David Copperfield, which surprises me greatly with this being a film from MGM. David Copperfield is on the December schedule; I'm not certain about the next time Two Hearts in Wax Time will show up.

The short kicks off with two men in a department store who design the mannequins and dress them for the window displays. They're just about finishing up their night's work, when in walks the janitor Joe, played by Gus Shy, who was apparently a holdover from the vaudeville days. Joe is a chronic drunk, but in a movie like this, that's supposed to be funny. The two dressers decide to play a joke on Joe by claiming the mannequins are actually alive, and Joe needs to treat them better. Eventually they leave; Joe goes about his business and finishes up his shift at 2:30 AM.

As he leaves the store and walks past the displays outside, he sees that perhaps the dressers were right, and the mannequins really have come to life! Nah, he's still drunk and this is his drunk fantasy, but the mannequins perform various musical numbers in front of various scenes that have been set up in the multiple display windows. Two of the mannequins, a man and a woman, appear to be in love, too, as they stroll from one display to the next.

And then they get to the last window, which has "The Greatest Menace of Them All". I'm not certain what this display was supposed to be selling. The others at least advertised clothing, or in one case, camping equipment. Perhaps the last window was supposed to be advertising Hollywood costumes, ad the window has a number of stock horror film characters. Most surprising is the presence of a Frankenstein's monster character. Mary Shelley's story was in the public domain, of course, but this monster looks surprisingly like the one Boris Karloff portrayed in the 1931 movie (and would reprise a few months later in Bride of Frankenstein). That Frankenstein movie, however, was made at Universal. Go figure.

There's not a lot of story here, and the music is more inoffensive than memorable, but the color is a sight to behold, with the monsters being the second most worthwhile part of the short. Overall, if you can find it, it's worth a watch.

About five minutes of the short have shown up on Youtube, too.

No comments: