Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Mummy

Boris Karloff's creature in "Frankenstein" in 1931 made Karloff an over-night hit, after he had only made 80 other pictures!* His sensational role virtually meant that all he needed in the credits for his next role was
KARLOFF . . . . "The Mummy"
The www.imdb.com reports that "Boris Karloff based his mummy on that of Ramses III and spent eight hours putting on his makeup." [Imdb.com also says that Karloff "teamed" with Universal's head of makeup, Jack Pierce, and that Pierce was the actual designer. It just depends on what page you're looking at!]
The Mummy actually only had a few seconds of screen time. [Miss Maven's beloved late mother remembers how terrifying those few seconds were!] The rest of the movie has Karloff in the guise of "Ardeth Bey," supposedly the anagram of "Death by Ra." (Ra being the Sun-God of Egyptian lore.)
"This is the only Universal monster of the time without a fictional antecedent. Large segments of the movie are scene-by-scene parallels of the movie, 'Dracula' (1931)."
[Miss Maven's address is below in case anybody can send me a list of these scenes that parallel "Dracula"!]
One of the movie's posters fetched the highest record for a movie poster during an auction: $453,500 +.
Karl Freund had only been in the U.S. for two years before given "The Mummy," his first director's assignment.
The opening credits have the name of Henry Victor as a "Saxon Warrior," who appeared in the re-incarnation flashbacks. These scenes were filmed and considered important to the film (especially by the heroine, Zita Johann, who believed in it). The Hays Office banned it.
[Miss Maven wonders why when one considers other horror movies of the period, especially "The Old Dark House"!]
"The flashback scenes in ancient Egypt were designed to resemble a silent film, with no dialog, exaggerated makeup and gestures, and a faster camera speed, to suggest the great antiquity of the events portrayed."
"The script for this movie was originally called 'Cagliostro', based on the famous French 'prophet'/charlatan who claimed that he had lived for several centuries. It was then rewritten to profit form the love of all things Egyptian since the finding of King Tut's tomb, re-titled 'Im-Ho-Tep', and only became 'The Mummy' just before general release."
Forrest J Ackerman wears the ring that Boris Karloff used in this movie.
"CONTINUITY: When we first see Helen, she is smoking a cigarette in a holder. When she turns from the camera, she raised it to her mouth; in the next shot it's nowhere to be seen.
"REVEALING MISTAKES: When Im-Ho-Tep breaks the glass in the display case with his bare hand, there is clearly no glass there, just the sound effect."
*The information today is from www.imdb.com, a site that Miss Maven has long valued as indispensable to any movie fan!
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