The Mummy (1940)

June 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

Reviewed from “The Legacy Collection,” DVD release.

After Frankenstein made him a star, the studio looked for another vehicle for Boris Karloff, and The Mummy was it. The first Mummy film (1932) has the magnetic Karloff, who doesn’t actually spend much time in the severe Mummy bandage makeup, but somehow sort of regenerates into almost human form, probably for the sake of his own comfort after what he went through on Frankenstein. He’s still a magnificent villain and an excellent actor, opposite a striking female lead in a film with good production values that puts the cartoonish remake decades later to shame.

The sequel films (four more flims in the series) don’t have Karloff, and I found them average at best, with irritating comic relief sidekicks, perky dogs that lead the hero to the Mummy, no real explanation for how the Mummy survives destruction each time, and recycled plots. I suppose they’re interesting to watch once, to see how the series degraded.

Worth buying, however, for the original film and extras, a decent documentary (though much of the information is related second hand, by film historians), and the trailers and commentary.

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