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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Mummy's Hand (1940) - Christie Cabanne


This film is noticeably a few notches below the original. It's not a sequel but more of a re-envisioning. So maybe it's just on a completely different path. From the beginning this movie looks and sounds really sub-par. It doesn't feature anyone of note and it suffers from tired acting. However, it runs at a fair and balanced pace. Plus it has a story line that actually makes it palatable. 

This isn't in the same continuity as the Karloff original. In fact this movie stands on its own. Young quick-witted adventurers looking for the tomb of an ancient princess, Mistakenly awaken a murderous Mummy (Tyler) and get harassed by a strange old wizard (Zukko).

Their group features the usual social make-up of a movie from its time. A straight-man (Dick Foran) and a fast-talking jokester (Wallace Ford) complete with beautiful dame (Peggy Moran) in tow. The story progression is pretty normal as well with just the right amount of cheesy romance laced in. The antagonists the living mummy Kharis and the wizard Andoheb are both passable villains that suffer from a limited budget. But I can't really fault the movie for that. The forties were a weird time. 

Universal had been responsible for the earlier, far superior, Mummy film. They had essentially ruined any chance of making a sequel by completely destroying their offender as the first film came to an end. Even destroying what made him live and what gave him his power. This film, the Mummy's Hand had no option than to be made as a remake. A sequel just wouldn't work. This kicks off a series of Mummy films that have their own continuity but fail to out do the Karloff picture.  

I recommend this movie on the basis of watching the entire series. That series consisting of The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), and The Mummy's Curse (1944), It's a different take and it's actually pretty interesting. The films may be of a lower quality, but they have it in other places.

Director: Christie Cabanne
Studio: Universal
Country: USA

Did ya know...
To make the mummy appear more frightening, Tom Tyler's eyes (and the inside of his mouth) were blacked out frame-by-frame in almost all close-ups.




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