Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 150: The Mummy's Hand (1940) - Rank 2.5/5


I watched this without any prior knowledge of its plot, under the assumption that the film was a follow-up to the 1932 classic "The Mummy" (sans Karloff, of course). Well, that was quite the foolish assumption on my part, for the film had nothing to do with Imhotep or any aspect of the plot from "The Mummy." Pity... However, the script for "The Mummy's Hand" is not without its redeeming qualities. It focuses on a couple of misfit, down-on-their-luck archaeologists (didn't know that there were ever many of these) find a map that might take them to the tomb of Egyptian princess Ananka - and all the riches that lie within. Little do they know that when they consult the head of the local museum, Dr. Andoheb(played by B-movie actor extraordinaire George Zucco - the film's most redeeming quality), that he and others are members of a secret cult focused on protecting their mummies. A cult that can also resurrect the very mummies they're protecting if need be. Oh, and there's a dame (lovely but forgettable Peggy Moran) and a magician (the always delightful and occasionally drunken Cecil Kellaway - another redemption) thrown into the lot as unwitting backers for the expedition.

That being said, the film has a great start. In fact, the 1999 release of "The Mummy" is clearly an amalgamation of the Karloff classic and this film. However, the downside is this film fizzles out during the third act when it should be really rolling. The mummy itself has a five minute cameo at the end (if even that) when resurrected by Dr. Andoheb. I kept praying for the mummy to take out the plucky comic relief - costar Wallace Ford - but no such luck. Ford incessantly prattled on about Brooklyn, Dodger Stadium, the bridge and his girl back home the whole film and endeavored to pull off some magic tricks of his own with results that were probably meant to be humorous. His character was clearly the stock goober that the oaf in "Amazon Women on the Moon" was meant to lampoon, except in Ford's case, it was unintentional self-satire. He wasn't all funny though. He did shoot an unarmed man. Ah, but his victim was evil, so we won't blame our pally for murder and merely laugh as he talks about baseball and hot dogs again. Meh...

Watch the Trailer

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