Saturday, January 16, 2010
Day 314: The Mummy (1959 ) - Rank 3/5
While Hammer Film Studios was in the throes of rebooting the classic monster franchises abandoned by Universal studios, they decided to include "The Mummy" in their repertoire. But unlike the new take on vampires, werewolves or Frankenstein's monster, the rejuvenation of mummies left me wanting. The formula didn't change much for this film when compared with "Curse of Frankenstein" or "Horror of Dracula." You still have Peter Cushing as a protagonist fighting Christopher Lee as the monster under the watchful direction of Terence Fisher. But where the pacing of the other films seemed deliberate and methodical in its restrained momentum, "The Mummy" drags to the point that it lends to comparisons with the rigor mortis movements of its titular creature.
The premise for this venture is a unique take on the legend, focused still on revenge beyond the grave, but the use of the mummy is more akin to the sequels of the original Karloff mood piece and not the 1932 classic itself. A trio of archeologists uncover a tomb and one foolishly reads the scroll of life, resurrecting Ardeth Bay (Lee) and sending the reader into a state of shock. He's brought back to England and shotly thereafter, he and one of the others in the original three are murdered by Ardeth Bay. That leaves only archeologist John Banning (Cushing) to battle the undead creature. As I mentioned before, the pacing was slow to the point that it had a somnambular effect on my viewing. I suppose it would be unfair to deliver a true criticism of a film I was dozing in and out of, but I will put it that my review is probably more generous than it should be considering the fact that it was so difficult to stay aroused through.
Watch the Trailer