For the first time ever, the original The Mummy film comes to DVD in this extraordinary Legacy Collection. Included in the collection is the original classic, starring the renowned Boris Karloff, and four timeless sequels,... more » featuring legendary action Lon Chaney, Jr. and others. These are the landmark films that inspired an entire genre of movies and continue to be major influences on motion pictures to this day« less
Mike King | Taunton, MA United States | 01/04/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"THE MUMMY (1932) - 5 STARS Boris Karloff is magnificent as the living mummy Im-ho-tep, who angered the gods by reading the scroll of Thoth, which would raise the dead body of his beloved Princess Anckesen-Amon. When Im-ho-tep's tomb is discovered over 3,700 years later and one of the archeologists reads the scroll of Thoth, Im-ho-tep is brought back to life. He later removes his mummy wrappings and assumes the identity of Ardath Bey. Ardath meets and falls in love with a reincarnated version of Princess Anckesen-Amon. In the end, the Princess calls upon the goddess Isis, who zaps Ardath Bey/Im-ho-tep back into a skeleton. This movie has withstood the test of time to become a classic.
THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) - 1 STAR In this sequel, continuity is sacrificed at the expense of the contrived plot. The living mummy, played by Tom Tyler, is renamed Kharis. He remains in his mummy wrappings and slowly shuffles along for the duration of the movie. The scroll of Thoth is discarded, as the means for reviving the mummy involve boiling tana leaves and drinking their juice. Finally, the Princess is referred to as Princess Ananka. The archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran), his buddy Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford) and a magician named the Great Solvani (Cecil Kellaway) are played strictly for laughs. At the end, Kharis is supposedly destroyed by being set on fire.
THE MUMMY'S TOMB (1942) - 4 STARS Lon Chaney, Jr. assumes the role of Kharis in this movie, and is a vast improvement over Tom Tyler. A high priest brings Kharis to America to kill those responsible for desecrating the tomb and digging up Princess Ananka. Kharis is brought to Mapleton, Massachusetts, where Steve Banning lives. Interestingly, he resides in a mansion which looks like a Southern style plantation. Kharis kills Steve Banning (hooray!), Steve's elderly sister (boo!), and Babe Jenson (hip hip hooray!) in quick succession. Kharis is supposedly burned to ashes when the mansion is set on fire.
THE MUMMY'S GHOST (1944) - 3 STARS Lon Chaney, Jr. returns as Kharis, while John Carradine plays the high priest Yousef Bey. Yousef goes to Mapleton, Mass. to revive Kharis and Princess Ananka with the tana leaves. It works on Kharis but not on the Princess. Fortunately for Kharis, the heroine of the movie is really the reincarnated Princess. Yousef Bey has designs on her, which causes Kharis to kill him. Even though there aren't any swamps to speak of in Massachusetts, Kharis and Princess Ananka are chased into a swamp, where they supposedly drown together.
THE MUMMY'S CURSE (1944) - 2 STARS Continuity is once again sacrificed, as Kharis (Lon Chaney, Jr.) and the reincarnated Princess Ananka (Virginia Christine) emerge from a drained swamp in the bayous of Louisiana. Although that setting makes perfect sense, give the Southern style mansion and swamp of the previous two movies, no explanation is given for them drowning in Massachusetts and being dug up in Louisiana! In the final film in this series, the reincarnated Princess Ananka is turned into a living mummy by drinking the juice of the tana leaves, while Kharis is killed when part of an old monastery collapses on him and buries him alive. Abbott and Costello would meet a different mummy, named Klaris, in their 1955 movie.
A TOTAL OF FIFTEEN STARS, DIVIDED BY FIVE MOVIES, EQUALS AN AVERAGE RATING FOR THE FILMS OF 3 STARS. The documentary entitled "Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed," the Mummy Archives of still pictures and posters, and theatrical trailers for all five movies are well done, but not enough to raise the average rating for the boxed set of films."
I Want My Mummy
mrliteral | 11/19/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A few months ago, as a tie-in with the movie Van Helsing, Universal came out with some nice boxed sets featuring the three great movie monsters of Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein (technically, Frankenstein's monster). Following up on this, Universal has now come out with more sets featuring their classic monsters. In the Mummy, we get a set of five movies that feature the title monster.
The original movie, called The Mummy, is clearly the best in the bunch. Unlike the other movies - in which the Mummy is little more than a bandaged zombie - this movie has Boris Karloff as the villain, an ancient Egyptian brought back to life and intent on resurrecting his ancient lover. Karloff is what makes this movie great, playing a murderous villain who nonetheless is sympathetic as he is motivated more by love than by malice.
The other four movies are merely passable B-movies that are almost interchangeable in plot. All four deal with an ancient Egyptian cult intent on protecting the tomb of Princess Ananka and using the ancient mummy Karis to do their bidding. Slow-moving and with only one functional arm, Karis is not the most threatening of monsters; although he could be outrun if you walked briskly away from him, he still is able to kill a number of people who are willing to stand still and wait for him to approach.
There is a nice featurette and some decent commentary on the original film, but as a whole, this set is clearly the weakest of the four mentioned. The first movie rates maybe four-and-a-half stars, the others average around two. With the special features, this rates a solid three stars. For fans of old movies, this is a worthwhile buy, but the more casual viewer should approach the "B" parts of this collection with caution.
This Review is Written with Love ...
Brian J Hay | Sarnia, Ontario Canada | 03/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Universal Studios offers excellent dollar value with this collection. The films have all been re-mastered. The original trailers are included, and there's a short feature about the creation of the original film. With the exception of the transfer of the original film itself their work is stellar. (Actually it's stunning. The print of the original film probably just wasn't in good shape to begin with). The trailers are enjoyable but likely won't be watched more than a few times. The documentary on the creation of the film is (for me anyway) one of the most enjoyable in their entire series. The stories about Zita Johann and her clashes with (Director) Karl Freund are too funny for words to describe.
The sequels are more fun to pass a bit of time with than the original was though. They're light and not particularly demanding, and they're filled with enough laughs (intentional and otherwise) to make any hour a pleasant one. Archival bits weren't matched well with the rest of the footage but apart from that the films are superbly crafted. Yes, the dialogue and the acting are poor but the photography, sets and makeup are excellent. Much of the lighting was done brilliantly. This combination of good with bad gives them a sort of charm that hasn't quit. At least, it hasn't quit yet.
The Mummy ****
Karloff's portrayal of Ardath Bey (Im-ho-tep) remains one of the best of its kind. His method of communicating intent by not doing things was ahead of its time. Zita Johann was an excellent foil for him. Her combination of demure femininity and exotic (but eccentric) sexuality make her one of the most memorable of all of Universal Studio's horror film heroines. Edward Van Sloan gave a performance that's essentially another version of his portrayal of Van Helsing but it served the film well. The rest of the cast is solid, if not remarkable.
The film has some scenes that are still chilling. The first confrontation with the reanimated Mummy is exceptional. Karloff's scenes with Johann while she's under his spell weave mysticism with an undercurrent of dark erotica in a way that pulls the viewer right into their web. Accordingly, the plight and helplessness of the individuals trying to retrieve her from the hold Bey has over her is just as compelling. The special effects used in the final confrontation between Ardath Bey and his pursuers were phenomenal then and remain impressive now.
It's still easy to see that this film is far superior to the recent remake.
The Mummy's Hand **
The sequels the film spawned that began running in 1940 weren't really sequels. The first of four featured the singing cowboy (Dick Foran) who didn't sing, a boob of a sidekick (Wallace Ford), a magician (Cecil Kellaway), a love interest (Peggy Moran) and a no-name Mummy (whose name was Tom Tyler). There's also a victim (Charles Trowbridge) who has a name (and a part worth mentioning), a couple other victims (who don't have parts that are worth mentioning) and a good (even literate) villain (George Zucco). They set off in search of the Tomb of the Princess Ananka but they find Kharis instead. Plenty of doo doo follows. All the victims fail to out run the slowest menace on the planet and Peggy Moran turns out to be the one spook film heroine with the sense to wear flat shoes. It's silly but it's a lot of fun to watch.
The Mummy's Tomb **
Two of the players from the first film returned (so they could get killed) but a new "Mummy" was brought on board. This time Lon Chaney was cast in the role of Kharis. He moved as slowly as Tom Tyler but at least didn't look like a moth caught in headlights the way Tyler did when caught in close-ups. The old villain (George Zucco) came back as well but had the sense to recruit a new dummy (Turhan Bey) to get shot at. In this film thirty years have passed since the first encounter and the remnants of the original cast have grown old but technology hasn't progressed a whit.
The Mummy's Ghost **
A new reincarnation of the Princess Ananka is played by Ramsay Ames. She's named "Amina" (which sounds like something gastric or an additive for laundry detergent) and she's surrounded by the usual lot of hapless defenders (played by nobody anyone ever heard of). They mean well but couldn't hit a barn door with a cannon. The most able among them turns out to be a little dog named "Peanuts". John Carradine was cast as the heavy in the piece and (except for the fact that he looks about as much like he's from Egypt as a Penguin would) he did a pretty good job with the role. Chaney was back as the Mummy as well and he lurched along at the same pace as before. He was reportedly drunk for much of the shoot but had no dialogue so the only slurring came from his left leg. For all that, he is still genuinely menacing when need be. Lon was too good an actor to ever blow it totally.
The Mummy's Curse ***
This one has to get the extra star. It has the same flaws as the rest (silly dialogue, bad acting, absurd stereotyping and non-progressive technology) but the plot is more interesting and the casting is better. Peter Coe (as the heavy) at least seems as if he could be from someplace other than America. Virginia Christine took the role of Ananka and, though she didn't look like she could be from Egypt, was exotic enough to conjure the idea of being from somewhere far away. Chaney also gave his best performance in the role of Kharis. His movements are still slow but the raw strength and relentless nature of the character were depicted well. That alone could have set it above the rest."
The Mummy Lives On
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 06/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This set of films is a real treat for horror fans and exactly what popcorn was made for. It includes the original screen classic from 1932 that began our long love affair with the mysteries of archaeology and ancient Egyptian curses which have provided us with countless hours of entertainment over the years as we let our imaginations run free for an hour or two. This is top-notch fun from Universal.
After the initial masterpiece of the original "A" film, "The Mummy," Universal would make a franchise of the character and it would become a staple during the 1940's for people looking to escape the harsh news of the war and get lost in a fun story on a Saturday afternoon. It was also a chance to put your arm around your girl, as you knew there would be a few thrills that would give you the excuse you needed.
Films like "The Mummy's Hand" and "The Mummy's Tomb" while no more than mere entertainment helped keep the legend fresh in the minds of those hungering for more. The two later entries from the 1940's included here are both a lot of fun, and both have Lon Chaney Jr. as the tortured Kharis, forever attempting to reunite with his forbidden love, Ananka.
"The Mummy's Ghost" was excellent "B" film entertainment and had John Carradine as Yousef Bay. George Zucco was back as Andoheb, even though he was supposedly killed off in the previous film. Ramsay Ames is the frightened Amina/Ananka in this one and Robert Lowery is her bewildered boyfriend. Chaney elicits sympathy through the bandages somehow as he chases after the screaming Amina, who begins to transform into his love Ananka as the story progresses. The great "B" sets of Universal and the transformation of Ramsay Ames' character Amina into Ananka are highlights of a good entry in the series.
Lon Chaney would portray Kharis in the final film of the series also, and this time the stunning Virginia Christine would be his most sought after prize. "The Mummy's Curse" was set in the swamps as a group of workers developing the area become frightened when they uncover the resting place of Kharis. The foggy swamps provide an appropriately creepy mood for this good "B" entry.
Betty Walsh is good as Kay Harding and Peter Coe is Dr. Ilzor Zanard, hiding Kharis in the ruins of a monastery. It is best not to question why or how there is such a place on a hill overlooking the swamps of the bayou or how the coffin of Kharis came to be there. These "B" Universal entries were meant to be fun entertainment and nothing more. This one succeeds in that capacity with the foggy atmosphere of the swamps and the gorgeous Virginia Christine. The scene where she rises from the swamps, awoken by the sunlight and covered in mud, gives this one a big lift.
For something on another level, the original "The Mummy" is a true film classic. The story will seem familiar to audiences today, but it still has never been done better. This great film from 1932 which introduced moviegoers to a story we still can't get enough of, was both entertainment and art. It has stood the test of time and is as much fun to watch today as it was when in theatres in 1932.
The Mummy is one of the great horror films from the early days of sound pictures. It began as all true film classics do, with an excellent story, this one by Nina Wilcox Putnam and Richard Schayer. It was a mystery and adventure set in the exotic location of Egypt. Add to that a present day romance in a tug of war with an ancient and supernatural love story and you have a true masterpiece of the genre.
The story opens at a dig by the British Museum in 1921 as Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Bryon) and his team uncover an ancient sarcophagus. It becomes clear, however, that there is something quite different and disturbing about the mummy inside. His name was Imhotep, a High Priest, and the sacred spells etched into his coffin meant to make his journey to the afterlife smooth have been scratched out. And rather than being embalmed as was the custom in ancient Egypt, he was buried alive!
A small casket is also found with him that warns of death for anyone opening it. It seems it contains the ancient scrolls of the Egyptian god Isis, the scrolls holding the key to life and death itself. Try as he may, in spite of warnings about the curse and its power from Dr. Muller (Edward van Sloan), Sir Joseph's assistant Ralph (Bramwell Fletcher) not only opens the small casket, but whispers the ancient Egyptian words of the scroll inside, bringing Imhotep back to life. Ralph Norton goes insane and Imhotep disappears.
Eleven years later, in 1932, a new field expedition of the British Museum headed by Frank Whemple, Sir Joseph's son, is led by a tall and stiff Egyptian with hypnotic eyes named Ardeth Bay (Boris Karloff) to the tomb of an ancient princess. There are equally dire markers surrounding her resting place, the seals of Seven Jackels from over 3,700 years prior left as a warning.
A battle of wills ensues for the love of big eyed and beautiful Helen Grosvernor (Zita Johann) between Frank and Ardeth Bay/Imhotep as Imhotep wants to use the scrolls to bring back Princess Anck-Es-En-Amon and give her Helen's soul. Imhotep's spell is poweful, but perhaps not as strong as Frank and Helen's love for each other. And one must not forget how Isis feels about Imhotep's past and present transgressions against ancient things held sacred.
This is old-fashioned fun in every sense of the word. It does not seem creaky at all but is very entertaining, director Karl Freund keeping this Carl Laemmle Jr. production moving along at a nice pace. Karloff, Manners, and Zita Johann are especially good in creating a memorable film that began the legend we all have come to know as, "The Mummy."
There is a sarcophagus full of fun and entertainment here. These films are what going to the movies is all about. So grab the popcorn and the kids and let your imagination run wild for an hour or two. It's a lot of fun!"
A Wonderful Legacy
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 10/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Legacy is to be commended for restoring this collection of Mummy movies so beautifully. After buying this and seeing the wonderful job they did I intend to buy the rest of the collections for Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf, and the Invisible Man. The movies themselves are great. The care shown in transferring them to DVD is always appreciated when it is done right. In this collection the original "The Mummy" with Boris Karloff is amazing. This movie alone is worth the price. Karloff was able to scare you with his eyes. He knew how to pull an audience in with his expressions and mannerisms. What a wonderful voice as well. Is it any wonder they used it in "The Monster Mash" or for the original Grinch?
I highly recommend this collection if you are a fan of the old black & white monster movies. Even people that are new to these movies will probably find them entertaining. This collection is on two DVDs. The first contains "The Mummy" movie, commentary, documentary, and other extras. The second disc has the other four mummy movies. "The Mummy's Hand" is a favorite of mine. The addition of Tanna leaves to the storyline is a nice touch. Good cast, story, and music make it a classic. It even has some comedy that doesn't detract from the scare factor. The other three on this disc are fun to watch as well. The collections picture quality is incredibly sharp and the sound is excellent. The level of detail can't be beat. Anyone that saw these movies on TV before this restoration will definitely appreciate the quality."