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>
Boris Karloff was virtually unknown when he appeared as the creature in Frankenstein (1931). He created such a sensation that when this was made, only a year later, Universal only had to advertise "KARLOFF . . . 'The Mummy'." See more »
When Im-Ho-Tep breaks the glass in the display case with his bare hand, there is clearly no glass there, just the sound effect. See more »
[to Helen Grosvenor dressed as his beloved Princess Anck-es-en-Amon]
It was not only this body I loved, it was thy soul. I destroy this lifeless thing! Thou shall take its place but for a few moments and then... RISE again, even as I have risen!
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Karl Freund, who photographed some of the most memorable silent films made both in this country and Germany, turned director only twice in his career. He directed Peter Lorre in MAD LOVE (1935) and Boris Karloff in this film I am about to discuss. Following FRANKENSTEIN and THE OLD DARK HOUSE the public knew it liked Boris Karloff but he had been silent in his two biggest roles. When this movie was released they flocked to the cinema to hear him speak (evidently they had missed THE MIRACLE MAN, NIGHT WORLD, BUSINESS AND PLEASURE and the other minor roles he appeared in while FRANKENSTEIN was becoming a hit). His voice was no disappointment and neither was his performance in this picture. Director Freund handles many important scenes as if he were directing a silent film . . .and it WORKS! The scene of Im-Ho-Tep returning to life is masterful, as is the flashback sequence where he shows his reincarnated princess just what became of him. David Manners is a far more practical hero in this film than he was in DRACULA (and he is not hampered by having to wear those ridiculous knickerbockers) and Edward van Sloan is fabulous yet again. Watch for Noble Johnson showing off his muscular frame as the Nubian servant. Jack Pierce's makeup is nothing short of fantastic; what he did with gum cotton and collodion was truly masterful. The photography is very well done also. One scene where the camera flashpans away from Im-Ho-Tep and over the rooftops of Cairo coming to rest on Helen Grosvenor is truly Germanic. A similar scene appears in FAUST (1926), and also in SVENGALI (1931). Red Rock Canyon substitutes for ancient Egypt but we always believe we are seeing just what we are supposed to be seeing. This is a very subtle film, and all the more scary because if its subtlety. Now shall we discuss MAD LOVE?
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