The hidden tomb of the Egyptian Princess Ananka is discovered
by John Banning, his father and his uncle. However, John cannot
enter the tomb because of his injured leg. His father suffers
a seizure inside and blabbers insanely about a mummy and the
theft of the Scroll of Life. His father is eventually institutionalised,
but even here he is not safe because an Egyptian who had warned
them not to enter the tomb has animated Kharis, protector
and ultimately avenger of the tomb's desecrators...
1959 film was Hammer's third major monster movie, after The
Curse of Frankenstein and Horror
of Dracula. At only 60 minutes, this example
must have been the shortest of their releases. That's not
necessarily a bad thing; the script is short and to the point,
and even caters for a flashback to the princess's pilgrimage,
death and laying to rest.
Lee (who else?) is seen as Kharis performing the rituals and
sealing the tomb. It transpires that Kharis was in love with
Ananka and secretly desecrates the tomb himself in an attempt
to revive her using the Scroll of Life. For the crime he is
bandaged-up and stuffed in a cupboard for all eternity, guarding
her resting place and ready to punish other desecrators.
is simply superb as the mummy of the title, emerging from
a bog after an accident in transportation, and staggering/lurching
menacingly but unsteadily, obviously not used to this walking
scene where he breaks into a cell in the sanitarium from outside
has the appearance of being well-choreographed. It's quick
and brutal. The camera stops short of showing the mummy get
a leg-up the wall to the high window, which would have been
so humorous I'd have paid good money to see it. I think this
is the most convincing look and portrayal I've seen of a cinematic
mummy. The Mummy/Mummy Returns has no style in comparison.
last comment: Does the Egyptian look uncannily like Eddie
Murphy, or is it just me?
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