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Okay, so this is pretty familiar stuff once again--you know, mad Egyptian cult leader and his resurrection of a mummy to exact revenge on those who have desecrated ancient tombs. About the only big differences here are having Lon Chaney, Jr. play the mummy for the first time and the action is moved to America (despite this making little sense). While this is far from the best mummy film, it is good old fashioned fun and I enjoy this much more than the overly special effects enhanced mummy films of the last decade because of the fun factor. The campiness and the whole ambiance are just so wonderful--and they remind you that the term "B-movie" isn't such a bad thing. Watch it and let yourself go--and have FUN!
When I first watched this, some 4 years ago, I remember being very disappointed with it and recall labeling it a lazy overall effort, especially as it heavily borrowed footage not only from the previous film - THE MUMMY'S HAND - but also FRANKENSTEIN (1931), BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) and THE WOLF MAN (1941) for its mob scenes at the climax! However, coming back to it now - and despite having just watched the other "Kharis" films - I found it to be quite enjoyable, atmospheric and competently handled (especially during Chaney's various rampages and the fiery finale). It was nice to see Dick Foran, Wallace Ford and George Zucco (why on Earth did he wait 30 years to exact his revenge?!) reprise their roles from THE MUMMY'S HAND, if only briefly, as it was to have Mary Gordon - Mrs. Hudson of Universal's contemporaneous "Sherlock Holmes" series - as one of Chaney's victims. As for Chaney himself, I thought that his first stab at the role wasn't bad at all: suitably brutish when required but with a hint of emotion seeping through the wrappings on occasion to provide a balance (especially when Turhan Bey, yet another misguided High Priest of Karnak, is liable to jeopardize their 'mission' of restoring Princess Ananka to life by conveniently falling for leading lady Elyse Knox).
This 61 minute sequel begins with roughly about 10 minutes of stock
footage from the previous film (THE MUMMY'S HAND), and I'd like to get
that out of the way right from the beginning because it seems to
unnecessarily bother a lot of monster fans who didn't go to the theater
in 1942 when THE MUMMY'S TOMB first premiered. It should be taken into
account that these first two Universal installments were released a
couple of years apart back in their day, and it was during a time in
our history when we didn't even have the luxury of television, much
less something as convenient or extravagant as a "home video theater".
Today we can watch these films over and over, and back to back; but in
the early '40s it wouldn't have been so easy to recall where the story
of Kharis the mummy left off two whole years ago, and that's in the
context that this repetitive footage should be considered.
After being refreshed of the last films' Egyptian exploits of novice archaeologists Steve Banning and Babe Jenson (now mistakenly referred to as Babe "Hanson", an error which is NOT as easily excusable!) we move ahead 30 years where the mummy of Kharis (newly played by Lon Chaney) is stuck in America with current high priest Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey). Why it's taken so long is anyone's guess, but Mehemet has a mission to unleash the mummy on Steve and Babe (Dick Foran and Wallace Ford, reprising their parts in senior citizen's makeup) for daring to defile Kharis' tomb three decades earlier.
This is strictly a "B" level programmer without many trimmings, but it's still an entertaining one. Lon Chaney looks menacing in his dingy mummy outfit which properly shows some of the effects of the fire which consumed him once upon a time. Chaney absolutely hated playing the restrictive part of Kharis, yet he wound up grumbling through it for two more sequels following this one. Harold Young's pedestrian direction is nothing much to get excited about, but we do get some chilling sequences of Kharis creeping around modern-day Mapleton, Massachusetts on dark and windy evenings, which are a plus. Turhan Bey is perfectly cast as the mummy's foreign protector, and lovely Elyse Knox is easy on the eyes as the love interest to John Hubbard, who doesn't leave much impression as Steve Banning's son. One can nitpick on the inconsistency of these mummy sequels forever; for example, even though TOMB occurs thirty years after HAND and should therefore be set in 1970, everyone still dresses and acts like it's 1942. But what the hell -- taken for what it is, THE MUMMY'S TOMB is a fast and fulfilling hour of mindless fun. **1/2 out of ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Decent Mummy sequel that's fairly entertaining and well made. this is definitely an improvement over the rather weak Mummy's Hand due to the fact that's it's very well paced and only a couple of dull moments plus Lon Chaney Jr. played the best mummy since Christopher Lee Arnold Vosolo and Boris Karloff. the performances are a lot better this time around although it's a shame we only see George Zucco once in this film he is such a great actor. The script is also a lot better this time around and it does not feel so rushed and it had a couple of surprisingly suspenseful moments. The Acting is good. Lon Chaney Jr. as i said is the best mummy since Lee Vosolo and Karloff and is WAY better then Tom Tyler Chaney is such a versatile actor and can play any role that he is given. Dick Foran does well with his limited screen time. John Hubbard is good here as one of the main leads and is pretty likable. Elyse Knox is pretty and has good chemistry with John Hubbard and is also very likable. Wallace Ford is only there in flashback scenes (thankfully) from what i could see. Turhan Bey does what he has to do well. but does not compare to George Zucco. Overall this is worth the watch and i will probably watch it again sometime. **1/2 out of 5
THE MUMMY'S TOMB (Universal, 1942), directed by Harold Young, the third
installment in the Mummy series, the second to feature Kharis and the
first starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the living creature under wraps. A
sequel to THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940) released two years earlier, this
legend of Kharis continues, set thirty years later, with Dick Foran,
Wallace Ford and George Zucco reprising their original characters
sporting middle-age makeup consisting of gray hairs, glasses and
The story opens in a town of Mapleton in Massachusetts, with the middle-aged widow named Steve Banning (Dick Foran) relating his scientific expedition to his sister, Jane (Mary Gordon), son, John (John Hubbard) and Isobel (Elyse Knox), John's fiancé, on how he, his now deceased wife, Marta (played earlier by Peggy Moran) and his friend, Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford) encountered the ancient burial ground of Kharis, the mummy. The next scene shifts over to Egypt where High Priest Andoheb (George Zucco), who amazingly survived three bullet wounds shot into him by Hansen and his long plunge down the temple steps (told via flashback), assigns Mehemet (Turhan Bey), to guide Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.) to America where his next assignment is to avenge the surviving members of the expedition, doing away with the Banning family and finally Babe Hansen, whose character arrives later in the story.
Taking a new direction from its previous successors by shifting Kharis from Egypt to the United States, with similarities to Dracula (1931) where Kharis on board the ship, resting inside his tomb, bound for his destination with Mehemet as his guide in the similar fashion to Dracula's Mr. Renfield. Once in Massachusetts, Mehemet takes up residence as a cemetery caretaker with Kharis feeling right at home surrounded by tomb sweet tombs of buried beings. Like Dracula, Kharis stalks his victims at night and rests by day.
While THE MUMMY'S TOMB tends to be original, it mostly borrows from other horror stories, including its predecessor where Mehemet captures Isobel to make her his bride as his predecessor Andoheb tried to do with Marta in THE MUMMY'S HAND. Besides resurrections and revisions, the film delivers towards its final half with chills and thrills, and Kharis meeting the same fate as the Frankenstein monster, who doesn't appear here.
Supporting players include Frank Reicher (Professor Matthew Norman); Cliff Clark (The Sheriff); Virginia Brissac (Ella Evans); and Otto Hoffman (The Cemetery Caretaker).
Strictly "B" material for the juvenile crowd, THE MUMMY'S TOMB is a fast-paced if not entirely incredible 62 minutes. Without the flashback and stock material from the previous film, this movie would have been ten minutes shorter. Minus the over abundance of comedy relief stressed out from THE MUMMY'S HAND, TOMB has all the familiarities from other Universal horror films from the 1940s, especially the stock musical score by Hans J. Salter. Although THE MUMMY'S TOMB did not become a top of the line Mummy show, it did lead the way to the next installment of THE MUMMY'S GHOST (1944), considered by many to be the best of all the "Kharis" thrillers.
Footnote: For anyone paying close attention to detail, it should be noted that since the first Kharis film installment obviously takes place in 1940, then this sequel, which looks very much like modern-day 1942, is set thirty years into the future, namely 1970. Otherwise if this is 1942, then the earlier film should have taken place in 1912 with actors in futuristic 1940s attire.
Other than local television presentations prior to 1985s Fright Night/Chiller theaters, and availability on video cassette and later DVD format, it's cable broadcast history consists of the Sci-Fi Channel (1990s) and American Movie Classics (2000-2002).(**)
Fun, typical Universal"B".. In what must've amounted to a cost-cutting measure, over 10 min. of the film's 60 min. running time, is made up of scenes from 1940's The Mummy's Hand"!! This flick would mark Chaney's first of 3 appearances as Kharis. Look for Glenn Strange[Frankenstein's Monster from '44-'48]in an unbilled "bit" as a farmer calming a horse, during the Mummy's first attack sequence.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Mummy's Tomb" takes place thirty years following the events of
"The Mummy's Hand", recounting the events of that earlier film in a
series of flashbacks as narrated by expedition leader Stephen Banning
(Dick Foran), bearing an uncanny resemblance to Martin Mull. We also
come to learn that the Mummy from the prior film was only "seared", and
it's mentor Andoheb (George Zucco) was only shot in the arm and
actually survived the first film. If you're ready to accept that,
you'll be able to swallow the rest of the story, as the aging Andoheb
entrusts the Mummy's safekeeping to a new caretaker Mehemet Bey (Turhan
Bey). Now there's a great coincidence, the Boris Karloff character in
the original "The Mummy" was known as Ardath Bey!
Mehemet Bey's avowed mission is to bring the Mummy to Mapleton, Massachusetts to avenge the desecration of his holy tomb, by destroying the members of the original expedition and their families. But like his mentor before him, Mehemet is deterred from his mission by the sight of a pretty girl, in this case the fiancé of John Banning, Stephen Banning's son.
Wallace Ford is on hand in this sequel as well, but without the comic nuance of the earlier film. In a continuity goof, Ford's character is called Babe Hanson, and not Babe Jenson as in "Hand". It was a rather dramatic oversight, as the name Hanson is given prominence in a newspaper headline following his demise in the film.
The story writers also take liberty with the legacy of the tana leaves that are instrumental in keeping the Mummy alive. In "Hand", much was made of the fact that nine drops of liquid extracted from the leaves were necessary to resurrect the bandaged one; here three leaves keep him alive, and nine are needed to give him movement. I know, it's only a movie, but gee, let's keep our monster continuity intact.
I've yet to research Lon Chaney's involvement in this and the subsequent Mummy sequels, but I question why a name actor would have been called upon to portray a character that's never seen in his real guise; why not save the bucks and have a starving newcomer take on the role? If the Chaney name was a hook to bring in the moviegoers, who would ever know the difference?
1940's "The Mummy's Hand" featured western actor Tom Tyler as the
undead pile of bandages. Tyler (listed eighth in the credits of 'Hand')
obviously wasn't being prepped to carry Universal's horror banner into
the remainder of the decade. So, after the success of "The Wolf
Man"--and much to his displeasure--Lon Chaney Jr. had to slouch through
the gauze for a remarkable 'three' sequels--the remarkable part being
that Universal could squeeze so much milk from this particular
Tomb opens with an ample amount of stock footage from 'Mummy's Hand' recapping the important events from that chapter. Seeing old footage in these mummy flicks is no big surprise--the fact that the filmmakers were not shy about reusing the close-ups of Tom Tyler (in makeup) as Kharis did puzzle me. Exactly how thin was the budget for 'Tomb' that some new close-up shots of Chaney as Kharis couldn't be cut into the picture?
George Zucco returns as high priest Andoheb, proving to be nearly as bulletproof as the mummy, having escaped the events of the last movie with 'only' a crushed arm & a full head of hair (maybe he rubbed some tana on his scalp). Also returning is what was already becoming a tedious plot device: The new priest put in charge of Kharis--apparently raging with suppressed libido--becomes enamored with some American skirt & usually suffers some violent (and well deserved) death.
However, it all speeds along at a quickie pace (all of Chaney's mummy pictures barely eclipse the 60 minute mark) and it's supplied with the usual atmosphere & mood music that at this stage of the game make it a good enough occupier of one's time. Of the quartet of Kharis films, 'Tomb' would be my favorite. It's certainly a more atmospheric piece than its predecessor and not bogged down with any of the inane comic relief.
As Dick Foran and Wallace Ford put the torch to Kharis the Mummy in The
Mummy's Hand there's no way that Universal Pictures was thinking about
a sequel. Otherwise they would have made sure to identify the fact that
the action was taking place in 1912 and had everyone wear costumes of
So it looks a little ridiculous to have Dick Foran and Wallace Ford now elderly beginning The Mummy's Tomb made up as elderly gents with Foran reminiscing about those days on that dig in Egypt where he bested the cult of Kharis and Princess Ananka and brought back the Princess Ananka's mummy with the treasures of her tomb. The first 10 to 12 minutes of this film is a flashback synopsis of the previous film.
But it turns out that Wallace Ford didn't really kill George Zucco with those bullets fired at point blank range. George has been waiting for 30 years, but he and the cult want some payback. Kharis survived too and Zucco before he dies turns him over to a new handler in Turhan Bey. They've even got a cover story with Bey getting a job as cemetery worker, the better to bring Kharis over from Egypt.
The Mummy's Tomb takes the unusual step of having Kharis kill the heroes of the previous film. But Foran left a grown son in John Hubbard who has taken up the fight against the undead. And Bey deviates from the mission because he's decided he wants Hubbard's intended bride Elysse Knox all for himself and he sends Kharis out to arrange it in his inimitable fashion.
I think you see where this one is going, but Universal did this one in their usual Gothic horror style. But The Mummy's Tomb is not as good as its predecessor and none of those films involving Kharis are anything approaching light years as good as Boris Karloff in the original The Mummy. Universal did not do as good as it did with Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman.
Mummy films are the runt of Universal's litter.
This movie starts out with about ten or twelve minutes devoted to
recapping the events of the prior film, The Mummy's Hand. I hadn't seen
something like that since watching Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.
This one is supposed to be taking place thirty years after that film, which if it took place in 1940, places this one in 1970. No effort is made to make it appear to be set in the future, apart from aging the characters from the first movie.
In The Mummy's Hand, Babe shoots four shots at point-blank range into an Egyptian High Priest, who then falls down a long flight of stone steps. Even though we are shown this clip, later in the movie we see that priest as an older man, initiating his son, the way he'd be initiated in The Mummy's Hand. He claims he'd only been shot once, in the arm. Yeah, right.
The Mummy is also back, after having been shot at and burned in the prior film. The only difference seems to be that he has no eyes now (I'm not sure how he gets around, maybe by sound like The Blind Dead, who director Amando de Ossorio thought of as mummies, not zombies?). He's got old bandages wrapped around him. His old bandages should have burned, so presumably he was re-wrapped with old bandages (since if new ones were used, he wouldn't be as scary). Additionally, while Kharis needed to have potions of Tana leaves planted on the premises of people he was supposed to kill in the last film, here he can be sent out without that.
The young Egyptian gets a job as a cemetery caretaker in America, where the Banning family lives, so he can set the mummy on them for having violated Princess Annanka's tomb. He doesn't seem to have any plans to try to get her or her treasures back from the museum, which is never seen. He seems set on killing the Bannings, apparently not knowing about Babe - who had shot his father! He only goes after Babe after Babe shows up and figures out the mummy is back, and the priest overhears him. Likewise, the priest doesn't seem to know or care about finding out what happened to the magician and his daughter. The daughter, we learn, died, but the priest never hears that. The magician, I suppose, disappeared.
This Egyptian priest, like his father before him, and like Kharis before them, falls in love with a woman who does not have any feelings for him. Like his father, he uses the mummy to try to retrieve her.
Seeing the mummy hobbling about in suburban American neighborhoods seemed fairly absurd. It would have been easier for the priest to go into the homes of the people he wanted dead and shoot them! Also absurd is the point at which all the townspeople go hunting for the mummy with torches! Would anybody in 1970s American be able to produce and light a torch at a moment's notice, like nineteenth century European villagers in a Frankenstein movie? They also start to burn a house down to get the mummy, thinking nothing of destroying the house. They don't try to kill him in a more efficient way, and seem to give no thought to the welfare of the mummy's captive. Some also try shooting him when he is struggling with someone, giving no thought to the bullets passing right through him. Of course, no one is harmed. Additionally, while the mummy seems afraid of fire, torches are thrown at him to no effect, and he also walks through fire a few times without burning.
Overall, this is a pretty flawed movie. Still, watching it was sort of fun, and it's hard to dislike a classic Universal monster movie.
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