Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Mummy Returns and Returns and . . .

"The Mummy" with Boris Karloff was a classic story but Universal Studio decide to make its sequels in 1940 as had been done with "Frankenstein" and "Dracula."
Universal Studios didn't quite come up to the original's level however.
Don't get Miss Maven wrong.
"The Mummy's Hand" (1940) is an excellent B-feature for the bottom half of a double-bill. It has a good story, great charater actors, Universal's usual production values and Jack Pierce's makeup artistry.
It just isn't a sequel to the original and is a step-down from "The Mummy."
It has Dick Foran and Wallace Ford as out-of-work archaeologists in Egypt eight years after Karloff's original movie.
They cross paths with Peggy Moran and Cecil Kelloway and they all end up on a dig for the Princess Anaka (who was originally Anhksen-Amon) in the Hill of the Seven Jackals.
What they find is a mummy named Kharis (played by Tom Tyler) who had originally been Im-Ho-Tep (Boris Karloff) in the original version. Kharis was put to death because he was trying to resurrect his lost love, Anhksen-Amon.
George Zucc is the High Priest who tries to thwart them, decides HE wants Peggy Moran for himself instead of Kharis and gets "dune in" by Dick Foran for his troubles.
(Would you believe Miss Maven if SHE came up with this story?
She thinks not!)
Miss Maven thinks it's a fun movie and one you might want to keep in its own right.
Then they made a sequel to the sequel: "The Mummy's Tomb" (1942).
Dick Foran and Peggy Moran (who is only seen in a photograph in this movie) have married and their son, played by John Hubbard, is a doctor engaged to Elyse Knox (Mark Harmon's mother).
It turns out that George Zucco survived over the years to pass his job onto Turhan Bey because Kharis (now played by Lon Chaney, Jr.) has survived.
Zucco has passed on the secret of the tanna leaves to basically keep Kharis alive and to control him.
We get flashbacks of "The Mummy" mixed with flashbacks from "The Mummy's Hand" and Bey lusts after Knox . . . and you can guess the rest of the story!
Miss Maven reconmmends this story if you can afford only one of the sequels because it covers both "The Mummy" and carries forward from "The Mummy's Hand." You will have fun during the ending to see if you can spot the stunt doubles. John Hubbard's double on the stairs is easy!
The last two sequels are "The Mummy's Ghost" and "The Mummy's Curse" (both made in 1944) are fun to watch but suffer from the weakness of the original two sequels and pay for it.
The audience is supposted to believe that many years pass between each sequel when there's only four years difference between "The Mummy's Hand" and "The Mummy's Curse."
Plus just how threatening can a 4,000 year old mummy be?
So the audience is supposed to believe that all of the Mummy's victims were dumb enough to let him back them into walls and corners?
Then they'll believe Miss Maven is the reincarnation of Cleopatra.
Bow and scrape, peasants!
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You'll find a much better bet at
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Miss Maven can be reached at
She promises not to bite, kick or
chase after little kiddies!

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