The film is the classic of its genre (i.e. the mummy films) and has spawned endless re-makes. Although not for the horror movie fan who enjoys gore and terror from a film, it is a great film for anyone who enjoys classic movies, and the more subtle horror films.
The DVD includes some decent extras. A commentry track by film historian Paul M. Jensen provides a highly detailed look into the film making techniques used by the film makers.
There is also a documentary called Mummy Dearest that provides some interesting background detail about the film, and why it was made. It also includes clips from the many sequels produced to The Mummy and some rare stills from deleted scenes.
Finally there is a rather good trailer included.
All in all, a great vehicle for a true classic film.
Having made the first Frankenstein film only the year before (1931) - at which time he appeared halfway down the cast list simply as "?" - by the time he came to make "The Mummy" he had been promoted to the spot ABOVE the title, as "Karloff the Uncanny". (This would have been less memorable had it not been for the fact that Karloff was actually an Englishman, and his real name was William Pratt. A number of genuine emigres from Eastern Europe were working in Hollywood at this time, and it was quite usual for them to be credited without any forename.)
As to the film itself, it is important to remember that it was made at a time when TV didn't exist, and a car chase at 60 mph was hot stuff. Though the pace may seem slow by today's standards, in its time it was a magnificent example of mounting suspense. Indeed, considering that it has a running time of only an hour and ten minutes, it actually contains a lot more plot development and characterisation than the average one hour TV programme.
I'm not going to go over the plot here, previous reviewers have already done that justice. I would, however, congratulate Universal on the excellent package of "bonus" material which makes the DVD so attractive even if you already have the film on tape.
There is the almost obligatory sets of stills and posters, plus the original trailer. What is quite unusual, and says a great deal for Universal's commitment to value, is the specially made background feature "Mummy Dearest" (a title borrowed from a rather bitter biography of Joan Crawford by her daughter, if I remember correctly), and the full length "Feature Commentary" by film historian Paul M. Jensen.
"Mummy Dearest" is full of interesting insights, including a brief resume of the discovery of King Tutenkhamun's tomb, in Egypt, which created a general fascination with ancient Egypt in both Europe and the USA, and which paved the way for this film.
It certainly explains how the original storyline, about a three hundred year old Italian mystic, Cagliostro, ended up as film about a 3,700 year old Egyptian priest called Imhotep.
Unlike Tom Weaver's rather high speed commentary on "The Wolf Man", Paul Jensen's contribution is a little more measured - but just as interesting in it's own way.
Jensen is equally interested in both the background to the film - actors' previous and subsequent work, etc. - and the actual film making process. This can seem a little irritating at first, as he seems to be simply describing what you can plainly see for yourself. But after a very little time we find that Jensen is actually highlighting the film maker's technique to show why the camera was placed 'here' rather than 'there', and how, even in 1932, Karloff and the film's director, Karl Freund, were already masters of the "less is more" technique.
So, both for the film and for the excellent package of "extras", this is definitely a worthy addition to any classic horror film fan's collection.
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