Friday, October 28, 2011

The Mummy's Tomb (1942)

Director: Harold Young

Starring: Dick Foran, John Hubbard, Elyse Knox, Wallace Ford, George Zucco, Turhan Bey, Lon Chaney Jr.

More info: IMDb

Tagline: BURIED FURY!...stalking to life from the depths of doom!

Plot: Andoheb (Zucco), by day a professor at the Cairo Museum and a high priest of Karnak by night, travels to America to wreak revenge on an archaeologist, Steve Banning (Foran) who, thirty years earlier, on an expedition to find the sarcophagus of the ancient Egyptian Princess Ananka, instead unearthed Ananka's lover, Kharis (Chaney), buried alive for sacrilege but kept from death for over 3000 years by tanna leaves administered over the centuries by the successive High Priests of Karnak. While the now-middle-aged Banning is telling his family of the trials and tribulations of dealing with Andoheb and Kharis in Egypt, the unexpected Andoheb, with Kharis in tow, looms ever closer. This does not bode well for the Banning family.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

This one takes place 30 years after the last picture, THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940), and with many of the same cast. The only problem is that it didn't really take place 30 years earlier. This is a problem when Banning's son is drafted (he received a telegraph telling him to report for duty in three days) during WWII. That's the level of thought that's going into these sequels. And like the previous film, they spend an extraordinary amount of time re-capping the back story told in the first film (this time it takes more than 10 minutes to do it, taking a huge chunk out of the 60 minute run time!). It all takes place in the US which is OK, although I prefer my Mummy pictures to take place in Egypt.

It's remarkable how frail and easily broken people were in the 1940s, isn't it? Chaney adds nothing to the role of the mummy. There's no speaking, just shuffling along, strangling folks. It must have been a bitch for him to have to drink his liquor from a straw. So far, it's his greatest role (since he doesn't have any lines). Say, how about that ending? It goes from this...

to this...

in one instant. Show the happy couple at the train station and roll credits. Clearly Universal just wanted to get something out there to capitalize on the Mummy name. The only thing I can say this improved on the last film is it didn't have the comic relief that can be so annoying. In fact, the character Babe (Wallace Ford), who provided the laughs last time, is now 30 years older and he's as serious as a heart attack. I dug it. The rest of the picture is by the numbers. Not a bad way to kill an hour but then...

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