“An Egyptian mummy searches Cairo for the girl he thinks is his long-lost princess.”

Director: Karl Freund
Writers: Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer, John L Balderston
Staring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arther Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryne Byron, Leonard Mudie, James Crane, Henry Victor, Arnold Gray
Release Date: December 22, 1932

Before rolling your eyes at an old movie, please check yourself. The Mummy (1932) is the inspiration for many movies you love. You know Brandon Frasier’s The Mummy (1999)? Yea, it is based off this wonderfully aged and still viably entertaining bit of early 1930s cinema.

In the early 1920, a pair of archaeologists are digging in the ancient Egypt and discover the mummified remains of the ancient prince Imhotep. The young men discover the history that this individual and learn that he was buried alive as punishment for sacrilege. With the the mummy was the Scroll of Thoth, which supposedly has the ability to bring dead things back to life. When a young interpret artifact digger reads the scroll, Imhotep comes back to life. The mummy vacates the premises leaving some massive PTSD for said archaeologist, but the disgraced prince returns disguised as a modern Egyptian a decade later to help in the upheaval of another mummy…a women of great importance to him.

Does all of this sound familiar? It should. This plot has been copied, imitated and honored numerous times before. It is a tried and true formula that has been accepted into the lexicon of top tier monster movie plot lines.

Honoring The Mummy‘s history in the movie world, we can turn our attention toward the movie itself. Does all of it hold up? No, don’t be silly. Does the majority of it last the 90 years since its release? Certainly seems that way.

The best part of The Mummy is not the script or directing, but rather the acting from the most important role. Boris Karloff plays Imhotep and he has a fantastic, mesmerizing look. The man has the glare that will send shivers down your spine. Being menacing seems to be in his nature. Karloff appeared in The Mask Of Fu Manchu (1932) which was about an Englishman racing against an evil Fu Manchu, played by Karloff, to find the Genghis Khan. Before that he had the role that gave him everything. He was Frankenstein’s Monster in Frankenstein (1931). He was in the super successful sequel The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) and then the The Raven (1935). Ht was just a massive monster movie hit. He is an icon of horror. The Mummy shows off all the skills needed and that Karloff posses.

Look At The Eyes. Terrifying.

Looking up some random tidbits on The Mummy, it is impossible to ignore the length of everyone’s IMDB. Director Karl Freund won one Oscar, directed 20 movies, and was the cinematographer on 164 different projects?? That only counts l Love Lucy as one when he was credited as the Director of Photography for 37 episodes. He also was cinematographer for 126 episodes of Our Miss Brooks. Freund just did not stop working.

We can not ignore Karloff. He acted in 205 movies. TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE. TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE. That is bonkers. Karloff started off his career in 1919 with a project called The Lightning Raider and ended it in 1971 with The Fear Chamber. Prolific. There was a documentary directed by Thomas Hamilton in 2021 called Boris Karloff: The Man Behind The Monster. You can bet I have added that to my Letterboxd watchlist.

The Mummy is a vibe. It is a short, fast-paced vibe. It runs 73 minutes, including the long opening credits. The Mummy is worth the watch on Peacock to admire the work of Boris Karloff and to how the inspiration for so many different story unfolds.

STANKO RATING: B- (3.0/5 Stars)


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