In order for me to obtain a blue ray screener of The Mummy, I was asked to provide a sample of my blood in order for it to be matched with Kharis’s! I found this a bit strange at first, but I’ve been assured by the distributors that there is nothing to worry about. I can’t help thinking now that I shouldn’t have given my blood to be honest, as I’ve started to hear voices in my head and dream about travelling on the river Nile. Oh well, on with the review my friends!
One by one the archaeologists who discover the 4,000 year old tomb of Princess Ananka are brutally murdered. Kharis (Christopher Lee), high priest in Egypt 40 centuries ago, has been brought to life by the power of the ancient gods and his sole purpose is to destroy those responsible for the desecration of the sacred tomb. But, Isobel Banning (Yvonne Furneaux), wife of one of the explorers (Peter Cushing), resembles the beautiful princess, forcing the speechless and tormented monster to defy commands and abduct Isobel to an unknown fate…..
At 86 minutes, The Mummy is just the right length to keep you interested in it’s plotline and the scenery whilst quite simple, is also quite effective and you are convinced at times that you are in Egypt. There are moments where the plotline becomes thin, but I believe this is a trait in a lot of films, so I’m not going to penalise the score on The Mummy because of this. There are some unintentionally funny moments in the film which are purely due to the fact that we are watching a film which is 54 years old, and some of the sayings and mannerisms of the time are now quite comical, even though they weren’t meant to be at the time.
The first thing that caught my eye about the whole presentation of the DVD/Blu Ray set was the sheer quality of the film presented to me on my widescreen television. Whoever has restored the film deserves an almighty pat on the back and it’s presented in the original UK theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and an alternative full frame aspect ratio of 1.37:1.
My only criticism of the film is that it’s quite similar in plot to Dracula, Prince Of Darkness whereby a casket is imported from abroad and taken to a character who is the other side of mad. Whereas Renfield in Dracula is a complete and utter fruitcake who starts off eating flies and wants to progress to larger animals, Mehmet Bey is purely a man servant to Ananka, with an agenda to send out The Mummy to avenge the opening and desecration of her tomb, but he has to be completely deranged as it’s not really an ulterior motive to send out Kharis to murder people surely?
Overall, as a piece of British Cinema, The Mummy is one of our classics, which we should be very proud of. Built on a miniscule budget by a team who had to be thrifty and imaginative in order to adapt a set which was basically the same for all the films at the Bray studio, it is a testament to low budget directors to aspire to. If a company in 1959 can make a film like The Mummy on next to nothing, surely low budget directors are capable of so much more in today’s age? That’s something I think I’ll leave you to ponder over.
So what do you get if you purchase the DVD/Blu Ray combo? :
New commentary from experts Marcus Hearn & Jonathan Rigby
Unwrapping The Mummy: The Making Of A Hammer Classic – New documentary about the film’s creation and history
The Hammer Rep Company – New documentary about Hammer’s informal repertory company of actors.
Stolen Face – Bonus feature (Terence Fisher’s 1952 crime drama, 72 minutes)
The House Of Horror: Memories Of Bray – Hammer’s all new documentary (45 minutes), which premieres on Hammer’s YouTube channel before the release on 14th October 2013.
Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing – The World Of Hammer episode
HD Archive/Stills Gallery
Original industry promo reel restored to HD (6 minutes)
PDF booklet by Hammer archivist Robert J.E. Simpson
So you get lots of value for money for your purchase if you decide to buy The Mummy. I can only recommend a purchase based on sheer quantity of extras alone. I would recommend the film to those nostalgic about British horror and to those who are very easily scared and are happy to not see any bloodshed or gore in their movies. Otherwise, it really will not be for you!