Ablu-ray Collection that even Mummy Would Approve
Karl Freund’s classic could miss the Halloween mark for a few reasons: a delineated 20th century setting that separates it from the Universal Monster universe, a strong lack of the iconic bandaged-and-undead Mummy advertised on the poster andboxes, and a desert environment that couldn’t be farther away from October country if it tried. Yet they work in October, as the temple/pyramid sets effectively replace the graveyard, castles, and windmill-laden country sides. Freund’s expressionist style is injected with a primitive, if Old Testament sensibility.
Not only that, but the film’s performances are simply magnificent, specifically from Boris Karloff’s Imphotep, who begins the film as a shambling corpse wrapped in T.P. and ends it as an eloquent, lovelorn Egyptian who just wants to be reunited with the woman who got away only to be reincarnated in the 20th century. He’s basically a mummified Dracula, the film that The Mummy loosely remakes, right down to the casting of David Manners and Edward Van Sloan. However, if you put a gun to my head and made me choose between Dracula and The Mummy, I’d choose the latter every time. Not only is The Mummy more efficiently plotted and dynamically directed, its antagonist is much more engaging and Jack Pierce’s design for the Mummy’s bandage — phase? Hi-def exists to bring out such details.
Don’t get lost in the woods…