Hammer Films in the mid-fifties made a deal with Universal International to do remakes of some of their horror icons. The movies they made as well as the early ones in the old early days of movies wouldn’t even get a sniff these days from the kids. They love the slasher movies, a lot of blood, or the modern day Mummy franchise with their special effects. But these films were so much fun when I was a young lad. They didn’t scare me of course, but I loved them nonetheless. I reported on the Universal franchise last summer.
THE MUMMY was made in 1959 and was based in part on the original mummy and The Mummy’s Hand. It starred Peter Cushing as Archaeologist John Banning who with his father Stephen(Felix Aylmer) and his uncle, Joseph Wemple(Raymond Huntley), the character name a nod to one in the first Universal film. They find the tomb of Princess Ananka, who disappeared while on a pilgrimage. You know how these things go: a curse on those who disturb the Princess’s rest. The mummy is Kharis(Christopher Lee), the Princess’s lover and with the help of Mehemet Bey(George Pastell) is brought to life bu the Sacred Words of Life(no tanna leaves in these films). And John Banning’s wife, Isobel(Yvonne Furneaux), is the spitting image of Princess Ananka.
THE CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB from 1964 is a different mummy, different characters, and different motivations for all. In thid one, three archaeologists, Professor Eugene Dubois, Sir Giles Dalrymple, and John Bray find the tomb of Ra and loot it. The man who financed the expedition, Fred Clark, is a P.T. Barnum type and changes plans. No stuffy museum for this find. He intends to tour the world with a circus-like atmosphere. The female lead in this one is Jeanne Roland as Annette Dubois, daughter of the Professor, and the intended of Bray, though they hadn’t discussed it.
Before they can even get out of Egypt, the Professor is murdered by a band of outlaws, who take his left hand. On the boat to England, one of them is attacked. In England, Clark is planning his show when the murders start. One by one, everyone who went into the tomb is being killed.
George Pastell is on hand again, this time as Hashmi Bey, the likely suspect behind the mummy attacks. There’s also a mysterious man, Adam Beauchamp, who begins romancing Annette. He has some power as she’s easily won over. Or just awfully fickle.
Didn’t like this one as well as the first, though there was a nice twist at the end.
As always On Tuesdays, go toTodd Mason over at his blog, SWEET FREEDOM, for the latest in films and related matters.