The Mummy (1959)

After a group of Egyptologists desecrate the tomb of the High Priestess Ananka, they befall the wrath of her mummified lover when he is awoken mistakenly by the Spell of Life. Hammer's take on the classic Gothic legend offers all of the same high production qualities and superb directing that fans have come to expect from the studio's finest director. The elaborate sets and colorful costuming are a welcome change from the Universal series that quickly began recycling its own themes and footage. The only slightly distracting element in the flashback sequences of ancient Egypt is the notable Anglicanization of the language and speech patterns. Besides this, all of the other elements fall together nicely, with more strong performances by Peter Cushing and the supporting cast. Lee's hindered movements and bodily expressions bring the character to life despite the creature's inability to speak. He offers the slender body composition of a corpse while providing the height and strength of a monster, making him an intimidating foe in yet another memorable performance. Fisher strikes the perfect median between the slow paced Karloff film and the over the top actioner Stephen Sommers would direct in the 90s, selling the Horror through his rounded characters and winning atmosphere. This is my preferred version of the story, and a must-see Hammer film!

Rating: 9/10.
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1 comment:

  1. It's definitely a classic. I love Karloff, but I always found that version to be a little boring. Nice review.