Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Mummy


I am a big Boris Karloff fan. So have many other film buffs over the decades, so much so that Karloff was often billed only as Karloff the Uncanny. The Mummy, which was a big hit, but not considered as fondly as Karloff’s Frankenstein, is nevertheless a personal favorite.

An archeological expedition uncovers the tomb of Imhotep, a high priest who was buried alive 3,700 years ago. Imhotep, wrapped up tight as a mummy, is accidentally awakened by an archeologist who inadvertently reads an incantation from a scroll. The archeologist goes mad upon seeing the revived mummy as the creature heads off into the desrt.

Imhotep returns a decade later, sans wrappings, with plans to revive his main squeeze. She is now an exhibit at the Cairo Museum. His effort at reviving her fails. He then realizes her soul has departed the shell of her corpse. It now resides in the body a beautiful, young socialite Helen Grosvenor. Grosvenor is played by the lovely Broadway actress Zita Johan.n Johann ranks right up there with Thelma Todd in classic Hollywood beauty in my book.The only way to be reunited with his true love is to mummify Grosvenor, then bring her back with the same incantation that originally revived him. The archeologists discover his true identity and destroy the appropriate scroll, turning him to dust before he can mummify Grosvenor.

I may not enjoy most of what passes for horror these days, but I really dig the classics. As such, The Mummy is one of my all-time favorites. I cannot say the script is full of surprises. It predictably goes from point A to B to C, in fact. But the journey is still good fun. Karloff is great as usual. His make up job as the mummy is quite impressive. Rumor is it took eight hours a day to put on and was incredibly painful to remove. I believe it. It looks like a perfect blend of skin and bandages. Exactly what you would expect from a nearly 4,000 year old corpse.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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