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The Mummy - The Legacy Collection (The Mummy/Mummy's Hand/Mummy's Tomb/Mummy's Ghost/Mummy's Curse)
DVD | Box Set
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For the first time ever, the original The Mummy film comes to DVD in this extraordinary Legacy Collection. Included in the collection is the original classic, starring the renowned Boris Karloff, and four timeless sequels, featuring legendary action Lon Chaney, Jr. and others. These are the landmark films that inspired an entire genre of movies and continue to be major influences on motion pictures to this day.
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Everyone knows what a classic the original 1932 movie with Karloff is. Moody, understated and beautifully photographed. A first-rate job all the way.
But the real fun comes with the second wave of Mummy movies produced by Universal in the 1940s. These were the films largely responsible for the pop-culture image most people think of when they hear the word "mummy". Admittedly, these films are not great, but they are good B-movie fun (for the most part) and a lot of the fun comes with picking out the various continuity errors that occur throughout the series.
Prince Kharis, the bandaged, shuffling brute who throttles anybody who is unfortunate enough to get within his grasp first comes to life in "The Mummy's Hand" played by b-movie western veteran Tom Tyler. A good movie, although the comic relief provided throughout the film for the most part is obnoxious (especially Wallace Ford), but George Zucco turns in a perfectly sinister performance as the high priest in charge of keeping the mummy alive.
Even better (imo) is the follow up "The Mummy's Tomb" which gets a lot of knocks judging by most reviews I've seen, but I thought it was very atmospheric, wasn't bogged down with any annoying comic relief like "Hand" and Turhan Bey and Lon Chaney Jr. were terrific in their respective roles, although the plot device of the high priest being tempted by some American skirt & fouling up his mission because of it was already getting tired & unfortunately would continue to be repeated in the followup sequels.
The other two films, "Mummy's Ghost" & "Curse" are okay features with a great performance by John Carradine in "Ghost", but for the most part, the mummy vehicle was getting more than a bit tired by the time these two films were originally released. But taken for what they are, they can still be enjoyable B-movie fodder.
Overall, I rate it a somewhat generous "5 stars", mostly for the fun factor.
Although the first film in this new wave of Mummy pictures, "The Mummy's Hand" is often referred to as a sequel to Karloff's 1932 Mummy, it is not. The story is all new & save for some stock footage, there isn't really anything tying this to the 1932 feature. "Hand" is a good feature that can get weighed down by some of the annoying comic relief--most of it coming from the comically challenged Wallace Ford--but those gripes aside, Hand is a good way to kill 60 or so minutes & George Zucco--one of the kings of B-movie horror--turns in a suitably sinister performance as the high priest who's in charge of Kharis. 4 stars
The 2nd feature, "The Mummy's Tomb" may be one of the more underrated features of the entire Universal monster series. I really liked its dark atmosphere & the renowned Lon Chaney Jr. takes over as the mummy. In real life, Chaney hated playing the mummy, but I enjoyed his portrayal of the monster regardless. Just take notice of the scene when Kharis, out on the street, spots Wallace Ford's character & chases him down an alley.
Even though he's only got one eye to see, you can feel the hate & rage coming out of Chaney during that scene. George Zucco returns as the aging high priest who turns over the caretaking duties to Mehemet Bay, played by Turhan Bey. "Tomb" is easily my favorite of the quartet of Kharis films. 4 stars
I also want to add that this print of "Mummy's Tomb" seems to have a lot of static & scratches on the film over the first 10 or 15 minutes of the feature--something that was apparently cleaned up when the film was re-released on the "Legacy Collection." Maybe some astute observers will go back and compare the two prints if they have not already.
Overall, while the Universal Mummy pictures of the 1940s were not classics ala the Karloff original, they for the most part are still a lot of fun & a good way to occupy one's time for 60 minutes.
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