In 1921 a field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Im-Ho-Tep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. One night a young member of the expedition reads the Scroll out loud, and then goes insane, realizing that he has brought Im-Ho-Tep back to life. Ten years later, disguised as a modern Egyptian, the mummy attempts to reunite with his lost love, an ancient princess who has been reincarnated into a beautiful young woman. Written by
Jeremy Lunt <email@example.com>
Having recently seen the 1999 remake, I realized just how powerful Karloff's portrayal of Imhotep/Ardath Bey truly is. Without fancy effects or CGI, without an $80,000,000 budget, with little more than dry-looking make-up, a doleful stare, and that wonderful, lisping voice, Karloff created a monster that will endure long after the rental copies of the remake have shed their metal oxide coatings. Karl Freund, the director, was one of Germany's finest cameramen and this was his first film as a director. Employing the "less is more" theory of film-making, he keeps the mummy a very mysterious and deadly creature. Never does the mummy stroll up to someone, working them into a corner to strangle them. No, he just reaches out with his mind, killing people from miles away. Finally, the flashback scene is one of the best, done in "silent film" style with music and Karloff supplying a morbid voiceover. Sadly, Universal cut the flashback short before the mummy had a chance to tell about chasing the re-incarnated princess throughout time. Some stills survive and Henry Victor still gets credit as "The Saxon Warrior".
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