|Copyright 1932 Universal Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'
- Helen - Girl who might be a bit cuckoo since she has a doctor of the occult as a physician.
- Frank - Dashing young lad working to further the sum of human knowledge and bring prestige to the Empire of Britain, I can almost hear "God Save the Queen" playing.
- Dr. Muller - Strange man that has spent his years gathering information about all sorts of dark and evil rites.
- Sir Joseph - Frank's father, doubtful of speculation and all this mummy nonsense. Until the undead priest uses magic to crush the very breath from his chest, that is.
- The Nubian - Servant to the good and kind Englishmen, but an unwilling thrall to the mummy.
- Imhotep - Boris Karloff! A high priest who was resurrected from his damned existence and now walks the streets of Cairo as the enigmatic "Ardath Bey." Punished by the ethereal powers for his transgressions.
|Evil is such a relative term, often depending on how it affects us. Many of the classic horror novels (and so the Universal films) explored the results of one or another indiscretion.
Poor Imhotep was horribly punished for attempting to revive his lost love, an Egyptian princess who died young. He was caught trying to use the sacred Scroll of Thoth to resurrect her body and submits to his punishment with a marked hopelessness. We are not talking about any ordinary implementation of Capital Punishment either. They wrap him alive in bandages, then desecrate his sarcophagus so the soul can never find the afterlife. Either way, he suffocated - a terrible fate. All this to someone who didn't commit murder nor rape, just offended the sensibilities of zealots enforcing the (interpreted) will of their gods. The crime is as gray as the film which portrays it.
The story has a fantastic beginning, with Sir Joseph and his assistant examining the latest finds of their museum's expedition. Imhotep's mummy and a gilded box are the real prizes, the characters believe the latter might even contain the fabled Scroll of Thoth. While Sir Joseph is away the assistant unwittingly awakens the mummy by performing part of the scroll's incantation and is driven completely mad by what he sees.
Cut to present day Egypt (where present day = 1932) and Frank's despair that his expedition has found little to further the museum's fame. Out of the blue a slightly sinister man provides the researchers with clues to finding a tomb which has not yet been plundered. That man is Ardath Bey and the tomb is of his long dead princess.
The cursed priest discovers his love's spirit no longer dwells in her desiccated mummy and instead has traveled down through the ages to become Helen. Can Frank's attentions and Dr. Muller's knowledge of the occult keep her from joining Imhotep, or will she die beneath his sacrificial knife to rise as his again?
They made great use of just how spooky Karloff could look, including several eerie shots of his eyes, glaring directly at the camera. Overall the only problem is that the plot seems to wander around during the middle, plus I would've loved to have seen more of Karloff as the actual mummy.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Playing with the vestal virgins is a no-no.
- Mummies come with their own fingerprinting kits.
- English debutantes are all descendants of Egyptian royalty.
- Heart attacks are caused by the last priest you annoyed.
- Dogs hate embalmed people.
- Dried carcasses make great bonfires.
- Mummies probably spend a fortune on skin moisturizing creams.
- 6 mins - I don't think curses have a "best if used by" date.
- 8 mins - This is the sort of man that you do not leave a freshly baked pie around.
- 21 mins - Since when did the British work for science and not loot?
- 43 mins - Frank is taking his father's death very well.
- 52 mins - No way, I'd be kicking and screaming!
- Helen: "Do you have to open graves to find girls to fall in love with?"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Dr. Muller: "Look, the sacred spells which protect the soul in its journey to the underworld have been chipped off the coffin. So Imhotep was sentenced to death not only in this world, but in the next."
||Ardath: "You have studied our ancient arts and know that you can not harm me. You also know that you must return that scroll to me, or die."
||Dr. Muller: "If I could get my hands on you, I'd break your dried flesh to pieces!"
||Helen: "Save me from that mummy, it's dead! Save me!"
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Sir Joseph, Dr. Muller, and the soon-to-be-very-insane assistant are all discussing the horrible death Imhotep was put to during this scene.
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