Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux, Eddie Byrne, Felix Aylmer
Director: Terence Fisher
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Three archaeologists searching for the 4,000-year-old tomb of Princess Ananka among the ruins in Egypt are warned of grave consequences if they violate her tomb. Madness strikes one and as the others return to England with... more »
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Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
This is the Hammer film version starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. It is apparently not based on the original Universal Mummy, but its sequels The Mummy's Hand and The Mummy's Tomb (which I have not seen). Mummy gets mad, mummy gets revenge. It was very typical Hammer, so if you like that, you'll like this.
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One of Hammer's most stylish and effective horror films
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Hammer Studio had such success with their versions of Dracula and Frankenstein, it was inevitable they would tackle another one of the classic monsters of Universal's horror pantheon. By granting Universal the American distribution rights, Hammer was allowed to create their own screen versions of the Mummy movies from the 1930s and '40s (never mind Universal ripped off an Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The ring of Thoth" in the first place). Hammer's 1959 (yes, that's the CORRECT date) film "The Mummy," directed by Terence Fisher, actually ends up being one of the studio's best horror films. Set in 1895, English archaeologists uncover the tomb of the Egyptian princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux). When Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer) enters the tomb, ignoring the warnings of the Egyptian Mehemet (George Pastell), he is driven mad. Of course, he has encounter Kharis (Christopher Lee), the living mummy. Three years later, Stephen warns his son John (Peter Cushing) that the mummy is after them, but the warning is ignored. Mehemet arrives near the asylum and sends the mummy to slay the half-mad Stephen in his padded cell. Following his father's murder, John learns the legend of Kharis and Ananka, the high priest who loved the princess so much he tried to bring him back from death with the Scroll of Life and was entombed as a living mummy for his sacrilege. When Kharis strikes again, John learns the legends are true. But then Mehemet orders the mummy to kill John's wife Isobel, who is the living image of Kharis' beloved Ananka (because she is also played by Furneaux. At this point, the Mummy refuses to obey and we are well on our way to the requisite tragic ending. "The Mummy" is one of the better looking Hammer films, thanks to Bernard Robinson's production designs and Jack Asher's cinematography, the high point of which is the lengthy Egyptian flashback sequence. Peter Cushing plays John Banning the hero with a sense of melancholy attributable to not only his crippled leg but sadness over the tragic consequences of their treasure expedition. George Pastell's Mehemet is one of the most thoughtful and pious villains you will ever find in a horror film. As Kharis, Christopher Lee has another silent role that forces him to communication his longing for Ananka through his eyes and gestures. Lee's mummy is much more muscular and athletic than Karloff's original. No slow shuffling monster here, the scene where Kharis smashes through the sanitarium window to attack Stephen Banning is one of the best action sequences in Hammer's history. It is not surprising Lee suffering physically because of this film. "The Mummy" stands out from other Hammer films not only because the monster is different this time around, but more because it does present the black and white division between Good and Evil we come to expect in Fisher's films. After all, Kharis has suffered for ages in unspeakable torment and kills only to protect Isobel thinking she is Ananka, so there is a degree of pity involved, while we have some feelings of disgust towards the archeologists who are so dismissive of native beliefs. Clearly there is more depth here to the characters than we find in the contemporary block busters where the appeal is pure special effects."
Steven Hellerstedt | 02/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay... bullets don't stop him, bogs don't drown him, and running a spear through him simply causes a handful of desiccated kidney dust to pour out of the exit site and, if those blazing brown eyes are any indication, get madder than he was to begin with. How do you stop Kharis (Christopher Lee), the Mummy, who has traveled from Egypt to the peaceful countryside of England to wreak havoc (aka, kill) the three English archeologists who desecrated the tomb of his beloved, Princess Ananka. Traveling with is his keeper, Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), who conveniently carries along with him, in a mini-mummy casket, a scroll of life which, when read, brings them back from the dead.
Man, what a thankless role Lee was stuck with in this one. His mummy makeup is as stiff as a plaster cast, he doesn't even get to growl, and the only emotion he's allowed to express in this one - save for an extended flashback scene where's he's the high priest preparing the Princess for burial - is through the eyes. Of course, Kharis had a forbidden, meddlesome love for the Princess, which helped accelerate his outraged congregation turning him into Dust-for-Guts, so I guess he had it coming to him. That forbidden love was a good thing for archeologist John Banning (Peter Cushing) though, who had the great good sense to marry Princess Ananka look-alike Isobel (Yvonne Furneaux.) If guns, bogs, and spears won't stop the Mummy (why didn't anyone think about a bucket of creosote and a lit match!? Sigh.) a squealed "Stop!" from Isobel/Ananka seems fairly effective.
THE MUMMY is one of those fun Hammer House films I haven't watched for a generation or so and delight in rediscovering. Cushing it at the top of his form, and Lee makes the most of his limited opportunities to generate sympathy for the monster. The Mummy is one of the hardest of the classic monsters to warm up to. Dracula is heartless but has a cold charm and more than enough style to hold our attention. Frankenstein's Monster is a pathetic creature in battle with his creator. The Wolfman's got that wolfbane curse that was a result of an accident totally beyond his control. The Mummy defies his gods by attempting to resurrect the Princess, and spends most movies trying to reunite with her. To their credit, Hammer's Mummy also has Mehemet Bey, who preys upon the residual guilt of the English for robbing Egypt of her sacred treasures. So this Mummy has a two-track, lost love/revenge theme going. Good fun, THE MUMMY is about as family-safe film as you'll find. There's no nudity, extremely minimal gore, and there's more talk than scare. Interesting talk, too, especially the third act guilt-trip Mehemet Bey tries to lay on Banning. Solid recommendation.
WHY IS THIS CLASSIC NOT YET ON DVD?
Steven Hellerstedt | 06/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THE MUMMY is hands down the greatest film Hammer ever produced, even surpassing HORROR OF DRACULA. The Egyptian sequence with its air of authenticity and dream-like horror, superb acting (especially by Peter Cushing and Lee, who marvelously conveys the stunted feelings of Karis via his eyes), memorable cinematography, intelligent dialogues, (this film has NO CAMP APPEAL! I HATE THE WORD CAMP!) exciting set pieces as the very physical Lee-mummy crashes through doors and strangle his victims, all converge to make a timeless classic. Oh yeah, this is also the best mummy movie ever made. As if there is a real competition. Ha ha."