Let's continue the Boris Karloff exploration, shall we?
Next up is 'The Mummy.'
Imhotep (Karloff) is an Egyptian priest whose tomb is disturbed by an expedition, awakening the mummy. This intrusion is led by Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron). Imhotep was mummified alive after he tried to revive his deceased love, Ankh-es-en-amon.
Somehow, these archaeologists lose Imhotep as he wanders Cairo, looking for his reincarnated love. After 11 years (that seems excessive), he comes across Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann) who bears a striking resemblance to who he is looking for. Our villain wants to kill her so he can use her as a vessel for his beloved’s soul so she can be with him for eternity. To expedite the process, the Imhotep (under an assumed name and with an improved complexion) recruits Joseph’s son Frank (David Manners) to open Ankh-es-en-amon’s tomb.
We’ll see what our heroes and the Scroll of Thoth have to say about that!
Despite what you might believe from the images, extremely little time is spent with Karloff shuffling around in bandages. A lot of the premise isn't that different from the 1999 film of the same name. We have a reconstituted priest looking around for his reincarnated love. Boom. Many also recognize the similar elements here that were previously seen in Bela Lugosi’s ‘Dracula.’
As a result of this misconception, you may feel as though you are watching a monster movie without the monster. The added mystical elements and premise keep things supernatural, but there seems to be little danger for most people who aren’t Helen. We are left with atmosphere and an unhealthy, one-sided romance that transcends time.
The stylish look and camerawork can be attributed to director Karl Freund, a man who cut his teeth doing silent German films and the cinematography for ‘Dracula.’ His work here is probably the highlight of the whole project.
Special features include: a documentary about the filmmaker.
'The Mummy' is a fine example of a monster movie from a classic era. It's not straightforward and gets a little more mystical that many other examples of the time.
At the end of the day, there are enough good things happening in the film’s brief run time for you to catch up on it. Just don’t expect to get chills. Enjoy it for what it is.
Not rated 73 minutes 1932