The Mummy (1959) In 1895, a team of archaeologists uncover the tomb of Princess Ananka, an Egyptian high priestess. They are warned not to disturb the tomb but in doing so, inadvertently bring to life the mummy of Kharis, the high priest who loved the Princess. While in the tomb alone, something happens to frighten the leader of the expedition, Stephen Banning. Three years later an Egyptian, Mehemet Bey, transports the mummy to England to seek revenge against those who desecrated the Princess' tomb. It is left to Stephen Banning's son John to unravel the mystery and to protect his wife Isobel, who bears a striking resemblance to the Princess.
The Mummy is the Rodney Dangerfield of classic monsters -- he gets no respect. But Hammer's sumptuous, beautifully filmed and acted treatment is as good as your going to find. It is also the most detailed mummy film around, with the recreation of its Egyptian tomb gorgeous and authentic. Christopher Lee is little short of brilliant in the thankless title role, actually managing to giving a compelling and at times touching performance through only his eyes and body language. Peter Cushing is superb as always (and was it a deliberate decision to make his character's lameness a wry twist on the fact that Kharis the mummy was always lame in the old Universal movies?), as is Hammer semi-regular George Pastell in the stereotypical mummy-controller-in-the-fez part. The supporting cast is also classier than usual for Hammer: Sir Felix Aylmer as Cushing's father is wonderful, aging amazingly convincingly and establishing himself as one of the great gibberers of the cinema; while Raymond Huntley is solid as Cushing's sensible uncle (and as London's first stage Dracula, one wonders what conversations he must have had on the set with Lee). Hammer regular Michael Ripper also has one of his best parts as a sodden eyewitness to the mummy's activities. Director Terrence Fisher (another Rodney Dangerfield) contributes many memorable touches, though probably none so effective as the agonizing sloooooooowwwwness with which the stone door of the secret chamber concealing the cursed Kharis closes, which emphasizes the horrific agony of living burial. Everything in this film works, and some elements, such as the photography and the excellent music score, exceed even Hammer's usually high standards. 'The Mummy' might be the British studio's best film. It is certainly one of their best.
The Mummy's Shroud (1967) In 1920 an archaeological expedition discovers the tomb of an ancient Egyptian child prince. Returning home with their discovery, the expedition members soon find themselves being killed off by a mummy, which can be revived by reading the words off the prince's burial shroud.
The movie begins in ancient Egypt when the Pharaoh's wife gives birth and dies. The Pharaoh dedicates everything to his son (the future Pharaoh) Kah-to-Bey but little did he know that his brother was planning to take over. On one night the palace was attacked by the Pharaoh's brother. While the attack, Kah-to-Bey's bodyguard, Kremm, escaped with the Pharaoh's son to the desert. Later Kar-to-Bey dies in the desert and his bodyguard mummifies him and covers him with the sacred shroud. In the 1920 an expedition is sent to find the tomb of Kar-to-Bey. The expedition is led by Sir Basil Walden (played by Andre Morell) Archaeologist and son of the financier Paul Preston (played by David Buck), and linguist Claire de Sangre (played by Maggie Kimberly) but there is nothing known about the expedition or the members. The financier Stanley Preston (Played by John Phillips) orders a search party. While in the desert the Archeologists are trapped in a sand storm but after the storm settles they find a cave and inside they find a mad man speaking some kind of dialect warning them to keep away. Obviously, they didn't listen, later they are found by the search party and among them is the financier S. Preston who had come to ensure his investment on the expedition. Soon they find that the cave is the tomb of the Pharaoh's son. They find Kar-to-Bey and they take him to a museum but the shroud that accompanied the mummy mysteriously disappears. Then one by one, the members of the expedition are been killed by a mysterious force. This is a traditional mummy movie, explorers find tomb and are later hunted by the wrapped mummy. Nothing is new about it but it has an interesting story and characters are well developed. The actors take it seriously and this makes the story believable. This movie brings back great memories when movie didn't need CGI or complicated stories to make them entertaining. If you are a fan of classic horror from the 50s and 60s this you will definitely enjoy. So on a Saturday night order a pizza and some beers and enjoy Hammer's legacy of horror.
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