Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

THE MUMMY'S HAND


THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940). Director: Christy Cabanne.

Archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his foolish pal Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford), along with magician The Great Solvani (Cecil Kellaway) and his spirited daughter, Marta (Peggy Moran), travel from Cairo to try to find a tomb and the treasure that goes with it. They come afoul of High Priest Andoheb (George Zucco), who has awakened Kharis, the mummy, by the use of a fluid made from tanna leaves. This film began the tradition of the mummy, still in its bandages, slowly stalking people in the night. There's perhaps a little too much comedy relief, but the performances are good -- especially Zucco and Eduardo Ciannelli as his father -- and there's plenty of atmosphere. Kharis has a similar origin to Im-ho-tep of The Mummy with some differences -- Kharis tried to revive his dead beloved and was buried alive, but his tongue was cut out as well. Frankly, this is much more entertaining and creepier than The Mummy. Marta is not the reincarnation of a princess, thank goodness. Tom Tyler, who was the title hero in The Adventures of Captain Marvel, plays the mummy and plays him well. Followed by The Mummy's Tomb.

Verdict: Minor-league, perhaps, but fun. **1/2.

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