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Old 07-14-2015, 09:51 PM   #1
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The Mummy (Boris Karloff)

This has probably been mentioned about 1000 times, but I just for the first time last night watched The Mummy with Boris Karloff, I watched it on blu ray, and it looked great. I like how older films in general were usually shorter. Why do movies now have to be so long? Can't they tell a concise story anymore? Everything takes 3 hours anymore it seems like. I mean cut out the filler and get to the good stuff. We don't really need all the side story crap they include in everything now. The classics were good about telling a story and not having 14 different other things going on at the same time that you couldn't even follow anyhow. I hate a film that tries to be too intelligent for it's own good, films are for entertainment not to try and outsmart the viewer. That's why the classics like Dracula, Frankenstein, and now after seeing The Mummy I can include it on that list will be remembered long after other films are forgotten. They were pure entertainment. Why do so many movie studios and directors these days have a problem with that, I saw some big Hollywood director the other day saying that Super Hero films were ruining Hollywood because they didn't make audiences think, WTF? Why does a film have to provoke thought to be good? What kind of thought did Dracula provoke, and it's a great film. Why do so many directors who started out cool, have to turn into assholes once they make it big, and think they have to make films with a message, it's like horror directors and actors and actresses, who once they make it big distance themselves from their horror past. Yeah they can suck it too.
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Old 07-14-2015, 10:23 PM   #2
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Deep thoughts today in the Classics subforum.
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Well as the video explains, I do not think it is a great film, nor do I think.
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Old 07-16-2015, 11:25 PM   #3
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Heh, many baby boomers decry the original Mummy for being too melodramatic and esoteric. Especially compared to the more action packed sequels. The sequels are much more about damsels running around in circles while a slow moving monster slowly catches up to her. When many are thinking of the Universal Mummy movies they're mostly thinking of Lon Chaney's arm in a sling dragging his foot behind him while smashing through windows and knocking down walls; much like the later Frankenstein sequels.

So you may want to check those out too. What little plot you think the original had is thrown completely out the window in the sequels. The Hammer Mummy is half way between I'd say.

Mummy's Hand, The (1940)
Mummy's Tomb, The (1942)
Mummy's Ghost, The (1944)
Mummy's Curse, The (1944)

I love them too but they're very different from the original.

But ah the original, it knocks it out of the Gothic park in tone for me. I adore the Lovecraftian feel of the opening sequence. I've gone on and on about it pretty much every Halloween season in the October thread year after year. It's pretty much Dracula beat for beat (Edward Van Sloan and David Manners again), but less stagey though played straight without Browning's humor. Karl Freund was the cinematographer on Dracula and went on to direct The Mummy. He's often credited for the strong opening sequence of Dracula (unfairly I think) and The Mummy reflects that strong opening (although smaller in scope).

Zita Johann is absolutely captivating as only someone groomed as a 20's era vamp could be. It's also an underrated performance by Karloff; another underplayed character he excels so well at. Edward Van Sloan helps lock this in with Dracula and Frankenstein for me as another key actor shared between them. If only Dwight Frye had made an appearance then we'd really have something.

It's rather funny that David Manners was undoubtedly the highest paid actor in this (as he was on Dracula). He was the draw that brought the 30's audience of casual movie goers in. Today's he's all but forgotten as being in these; mentioned at best in an obligatory cast list.

The Mummy's worth re-evaluation. It's got a lot of the classic Gothic touches going for it and should be enjoyed by anyone interested in the spooky atmosphere supplied in such films of the era.
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Old 07-17-2015, 03:45 PM   #4
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I have seen the Hammer version of The Mummy, but it's been some years ago, I will have to check it out again, but I don't remember it being as good as the one with Karloff I just saw. This one was just wow. And the recent remakes were more like Raiders of the Lost Ark films than anything remotely like the original. I thought the woman you mentioned Zita Johann, I had never heard of her before, she was gorgeous and I actually have heard guys now days say women were not pretty back then, I'm like wtf is wrong with these guys, yeah women only got pretty in the last 5 years or whatever, they are idiots. Why did Boris Karloff look so tall early in his career, but in his later career he looked so short compared to other actors? Anyone else notice this?
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:31 PM   #5
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This is the only one of Universal's first wave that I admire more than enjoy. It's beautifully shot, Karloff is fantastic, and the opening is really strong. But the story has never grabbed me. At some point I always find myself bored stiff.

This is definitely the rare case where I prefer schlocky sequels to a thoughtful original. The Mummy's Hand is easily my favorite mummy film--and one of Universal's more entertaining outings from the early 40s. Wallace Ford wears out his welcome for sure. But Tom Tyler is a truly fearsome mummy. I'm sure it was cumbersome to black out his eyes in post-production. But it makes such a huge difference. He's so intimidating that it's actually plausible (for once) that his victims would be frozen in fear. Chaney's mummy is a pudgy goofball. But all of the Kharis flicks are relatively fast-paced fun. The recycled Son of Frankenstein score helps a lot. I hope we get all of the Universal films on Blu at some point. Blu-ray versions of the DVD Legacy sets would be most welcome.
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:54 PM   #6
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This is the only one of Universal's first wave that I admire more than enjoy. It's beautifully shot, Karloff is fantastic, and the opening is really strong. But the story has never grabbed me. At some point I always find myself bored stiff.

This is definitely the rare case where I prefer schlocky sequels to a thoughtful original. The Mummy's Hand is easily my favorite mummy film--and one of Universal's more entertaining outings from the early 40s. Wallace Ford wears out his welcome for sure. But Tom Tyler is a truly fearsome mummy. I'm sure it was cumbersome to black out his eyes in post-production. But it makes such a huge difference. He's so intimidating that it's actually plausible (for once) that his victims would be frozen in fear. Chaney's mummy is a pudgy goofball. But all of the Kharis flicks are relatively fast-paced fun. The recycled Son of Frankenstein score helps a lot. I hope we get all of the Universal films on Blu at some point. Blu-ray versions of the DVD Legacy sets would be most welcome.
I sadly agree with your assessment of the original The Mummy, though I am a huge devotee of Karloff, this film just never kept my attention.
I always preferred Hammer's The Mummy with Lee and Cushing.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:19 PM   #7
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. . . though I am a huge devotee of Karloff, this film just never kept my attention.
I always preferred Hammer's The Mummy with Lee and Cushing.
Sacrilegious as it may be, I completely agree. The best thing about Universal's version is Karloff and the opening scene. After that, everything just falls flat. Hammer's version is beautiful from start to finish and the score is one of the best Hammer scores ever.
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Sacrilegious as it may be, I completely agree. The best thing about Universal's version is Karloff and the opening scene. After that, everything just falls flat. Hammer's version is beautiful from start to finish and the score is one of the best Hammer scores ever.
Thank God, I thought I was the only one and about to catch Hell for my opinion.
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