Boris Karloff's legendary performance has become a landmark in the annals of screen history. As the mummy, Im-Ho-Tep, he is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a team of British archaeologists. It is revealed in a ... more »flashback that he was a high priest, embalmed alive for trying to revive the vestal virgin whom he loved, after she had been sacrificed. Alive again, he sets out to find his lost love. Today, over 50 years after The Mummy was first released, this brooding dream-like film remains a masterpiece not only of the genre, but for all time.« less
"I shall awaken memories of love and crime and death ..."
L. Carter | 01/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With these words, the viewer is once again seduced by Boris Karloff's amazing ability to bring to life, so to speak, characters that have been long dead. By 1932, when "The Mummy" was released, Universal was the leading Hollywood horror studio. "The Mummy" was ... ahem ... one more nail in a very successful sarcophagus, providing Universal with more acclaim and Karloff with another notch in his already-outstanding cinematic resume.Now released on DVD as part of the Universal Classic Monster Collection series, "The Mummy" reflects the rampant interest in America at the time in all things Egyptian, brought about mainly by the discovery of King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter some 10 years prior. The supposed curse that was to have been visited upon anyone who disturbed the boy king was even worked into the script of "The Mummy" which was, originally, not an Egyptian movie at all but which was based on an historical Italian alchemist/hypnotist who claimed to have lived for centuries.In the film, the mummy, Im-Ho-Tep (pronounced "M-Ho-Tep") is accidentally revived after 3,700 years by a team of British archaeologists. He was once a priest, buried alive for attempting to revive the vestial virgin whom he loved following her sacrifice. Alive once more, and now calling himself Ardath Bey, he is looking for his lost love ... and of course, he'll need a living stand-in ...The "making-of" documentary included in "The Mummy", entitled "Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed", is, like all the other documentaries in this series, a delight. One special feature of this particular documentary details the process used by make-up king Jack Pierce to turn Karloff - who in life was quite a handsome man - into a dried-out corpse. When one considers - both in the Frankenstein films and "The Mummy" - the physical rigors which Karloff endured to bring his gallery of monsters to life, this dedication to craft alone is truly amazing. From enduring layers of make-up often combined with foul-smelling chemicals, to wearing padded clothing weighing 30 pounds or more, to being wrapped in bandages and accidentally not given a fly through which the actor could relieve himself throughout the day, "Karloff The Uncanny" endured all and, as a result, gave us performances unmatched by any actor living today.The double performance of Zita Johann as both the Egyptian princess and her modern-day character is nuanced and blends perfectly with Karloff's measured emotion, which evokes a romantic aura in his character that makes him seem more sympathetic than evil.Feature Commentary by film historian Paul Jensen provides a treasure chest of trivia for horror film buffs and Karloff devotees, as do the original trailers and cast and filmmaker's biographies included in the DVD's extra goodies.Get lost in the world of "The Mummy" and you'll never want to leave."
Yet another release of the 1932 classic horror film
calvinnme | 05/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you prefer your horror the old-fashioned way with atmosphere, implication, and imagination versus explicit special effects, this is your kind of movie. Everyone already knows the tale, and everyone has already seen the movie. It is worth ownng though. It was made in the precode era when horror movies could still have a dash of the shocking. Plus movies were still learning to talk, so much experimentation could go on. The director of "The Mummy", Karl Freund, had worked with Fritz Lang and so hints of German expressionism can be seen in this film as well. The year before, "Frankenstein" had made Boris Karloff a star at age 44. It is here Karloff gets to use the power of speech to add to his presence in horror films.
DISC 1: Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed Feature Commentary by Film Historian Paul M. Jenson Feature Commentary by Rick Baker, Scott Essman, Steve Haberman, Bob Burns, and Brent Armstrong** Posters & Stills** Trailer Gallery DISC 2 He Who Made Monsters: Life and Legacy of Jack Pierce** Unraveling the Legacy of The Mummy** Universal Horror Documentary**
**New Bonus Features not on previous releases. Note that "Production Notes" and "Cast and Filmmakers" were bonus Features in the 2007 single disc release. "The Mummy Archives" was in the 2004 release "The Mummy: The Legacy Collection". These may or may not be encompassed in the new release. Thus is the chaos that is the Universal Classic DVD department."
The Most Subtle of Universal Studios Horror Classics
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 01/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although frequently reinterpreted, the original 1932 THE MUMMY remains the most intriguing film version of a story inspired by both 1920s archeological finds and the 1931 Bela Lugosi DRACULA: when an over-eager archeologist reads an incantation from an ancient scroll, he unexpectedly reanimates a mysterious mummy--who then seeks reunion with the princess for whom he died thousands of years earlier and ultimately finds his ancient love reincarnated in modern-day Egypt.Less a typical horror film than a gothic romance with an Egyptian setting, THE MUMMY has few special effects of any kind and relies primarily upon atmosphere for impact--and this it has in abundance: although leisurely told, the film possesses a darkly romantic, dreamlike quality that lingers in mind long after the film is over. With one or two exceptions, the cast plays with remarkable restraint, with Boris Karloff as the resurrected mummy and Zita Johann (a uniquely beautifully actress) standouts in the film. The sets are quite remarkable, and the scenes in which Karloff permits his reincarnated lover to relive the ancient past are particularly effective.Kids raised on wham-bam action and special effects films will probably find the original THE MUMMY slow and uninteresting, but the film's high quality and disquieting atmosphere will command the respect of both fans of 1930s horror film and the more discerning viewer. Of all the 1930s Universal Studio horror films, THE MUMMY is the most subtle--and the one to which I personally return most often."
Review of 2-disc Legacy Edition
A. Gammill | West Point, MS United States | 07/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When Universal released 75th Annivesary editions of Dracula and Frankenstein in 2006, I assumed they would release a similiar set the following year for the Mummy, to mark its anniversary. But 2007 came and went, with no new Mummy DVD. Now, a year later, we finally get this deluxe edition.
Before I get into the specifics of the discs, I want to share a few thoughts about the film itself. I've always felt that The Mummy was treated with a bit less respect than Universal's premiere big-screen sound horror movies, Dracula and Frankenstein. And there's a reason for that: The film offers a more subtle approach to its thrills than those other landmarks of the genre. As the film's title creature's moves and slow and deliberate, so is the pace of the film. You probably already know that the iconic bandage-wrapped mummy is only onscreen for a few seconds. For the bulk of the film, Boris Karloff appears as Ardeth Bey, the 3700 year old (unwrapped) priest who was buried alive for committing blasphemy. While the film in some ways confounds expectations--especially if you've seen a "proper" mummy film, with the living dead skulking around killing folks who've disturbed his/her rest--Karloff's commanding yet understated performance elevates the film to classic status.
Now, if you've bought either of the two previously-released DVD versions of The Mummy, you might wonder whether you should bother with this edition. And I think it comes down to how much you like the film itself, and whether you have a strong desire to learn a little more about its creation. As for the film itself, I've compared it to both the original single-disc release and the 2004 Legacy Collection version. . .and haven't found enough differences in the audio or video quality to recommend an upgrade solely based on expected improvments in the transfer. There's still some graininess to be found in the outdoor scenes, but the overall result probably represents the best the film will ever look. Audio? It's a mono film; it doesn't matter if you have the latest Dolby Pro-Geek 13.1 Surround Sound or whatever, it won't sound any better.
There are several bonus features which were held over from the Legacy Collection. These include audio commentaries, the well-done "Mummy Dearest" documentary (actually produced for the single-disc release), a trailer gallery, and the excellent feature-length documentary covering all the classic Universal monsters.
A new documentary on makeup artist Jack Pierce is a welcome addition, though at 23 minutes, feels a bit rushed. Less impressive is the even shorter featurette on the evolution of the Mummy character, which jumps from the 1940's sequels to the 1999 remake with Brendan Fraser, ignoring many other good and bad interpretations along the way. The set also includes a free ticket to see the latest modern-day installment, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. I haven't seen it, but I'm assuming it's just as full of empty-headed thrills as its predecessors. Anybody want a free ticket?
I'd recommend this set to all die-hard Universal Monsters fans. But if you already have the film on DVD, you might want to consider whether the handful of new material is worth your money."
Legacy Series DVD picture cropped slightly from 1999 release
Surfink | Racine, WI | 11/25/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just wanted to mention that I recently compared the transfers on the Mummy Special Edition (Universal Legacy Series) 2-disc DVD released in July 2008 and the original 1999 Universal single-disc DVD release. The quality of the transfers in terms of contrast, brightness, detail, scratches and blemishes, etc., seems to be virtually identical. However, for some unknown reason the framing of the Legacy Series release is cropped tighter than the 1999 edition, with a small but significant loss of picture information along the right, left, and bottom borders. I watched the Legacy Series version yesterday and the missing information was not enough to seriously impact my enjoyment of the movie, but it's kind of irritating that the older, supposedly obsolete edition actually reveals more of the frame than the newer, supposedly definitive edition. Unfortunately, this seems to be typical of Universal's double- and triple-dip DVD editions: two steps forward and one back. I'm still debating whether to hang on to the 1999 edition, which I was hoping to ditch after buying the newest release. So if you're thinking of upgrading in hopes of getting a superior transfer and don't really care about the extras, my advice is stick with the original 1999 release. The only new extras you get with the Legacy Series release are the second commentary track, 1940s Mummy series trailers, and the Jack Pierce featurette, which is interesting but does not contain much new information unless you are completely ignorant of Pierce's career. The Unraveling the Legacy of the Mummy featurette is really just a promo for the two Brendan Fraser Mummy movies, it doesn't even address the 1940s mummy series, or any other mummy movies for that matter. The TCM Universal Horror documentary is nice but it is available on the Dracula and Frankenstein 75th Anniversary Edition DVDs and hardly worth the purchase price of the new Mummy DVD by itself, especially if you already have the Dracula or Frankenstein anniversary sets. If the limited new extras sound worth it to you, go for it, but realize that you are losing some picture information in the feature attraction, not to mention the Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers' Bios, and Mummy Archives (poster and stills gallery) extras from the 1999 release. I never bought the Mummy Legacy Collection box set so I can't comment on that release."