For week three of his discovery of classic monster movies, Tom’s following up Dracula and Frankenstein with The Mummy.
Release Date: December 1932
Awards: I feel like the people handing out awards really missed a trick with this series of movies… 3 films down, no awards won.
Rating: 93% on the Tomatometer, 7.1/10 on IMDb.
The movie that inspired every other Mummy movie ever. You know the drill: Archaeological numpty accidentally awakens a long dead Egyptian priest who was killed for doing black magic, undead priest causes some trouble whilst trying to bring his also long dead lover back for a time-traveling love affair.
In fact, “inspired” may be the wrong choice of word, given that the story of the reanimation of Imhotep was literally just re-done in the 1999 Brendan Fraser led film.
No warnings of terror at the start of this one, although unlike Dracula and Frankenstein which were rated PG, The Mummy is (rather inexplicably) rated as a 15. I can imagine the movie would have been shocking to audiences in the ’30s, but the themes have really been done to death now.
Coming out just over a year from Frankenstein, this movie made cinematic leaps. We have a soundtrack! I tell you, all the suspense in a film comes from the music. It massively adds to the atmosphere and makes for a much more immersive movie.
The whole movie was filmed in Los Angeles, which makes it all the more impressive how good the “Egypt” scenes look. With that said, the Egyptians in the movie are played exclusively by white men who are either putting on a strange accent or are in blackface. Whilst I appreciate that we’re talking about a different era of film (and society in general), the use of blackface was so jarring, and honestly a little bit shocking as a modern audience member.
Not all of the make-up is this distracting though. Whatever they did to the face of Boris Karloff (You’ll remember him as having played Frankenstein’s monster) was sufficiently odd as to make him look other-worldly. Karloff is amazing in this movie, being sinister without being overly theatrical.
With every movie, we seem to be moving further away from the overly theatrical acting of the early days of cinema and more towards the subtle screen acting we expect these days. I also feel I need to justify that I don’t hate theatrical acting, but it’s better placed in a theatre than on film!
This film is an absolute corker and well worth a watch. It’s easily the best Monster movie that I’ve reviewed so far. Plus it’s like history, so it’s educational too. Win win.
Is there an iconic film or album you think I should have experienced by now? Let me know @MoveToTRASHUK #latelatereview