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Looking Back on Universal’s ‘The Mummy’.

march of mummies

One of our favorite of the Universal Monsters is, undoubtedly, The Mummy.  He’s actually my favorite since I was a child and the Stephen Sommers’ 1999 picture is one of my favorite films of all time.  This past March, we took a look back at the legacy of The Mummy and had a theme called “March of Mummies.”  It was really so much fun as we watched, talked about, and wrote of the 1932 classic and the ’99 remake and sequels.  What made it even more fun for us was that we got to help break the news of three big additions to the cast (Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, & Marwan Kenzari) of the upcoming reboot directed by Alex Kurtzman.  At the end of March, we were actually a little sad to bring the themed month of coverage to an end, but with week four beginning on the new Mummy, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back on “March of Mummies.”  And hopefully for some of you that have just joined us at Universal Monsters Universe, you’ll find some new content that we hope you like as much as we enjoyed writing and presenting to you.

The Mummy (1932)

W. John L. Balderston, Nina Wilcox Putnam, & Richard Schayer

D. Karl Freund

mummy

The 1932 Universal picture that so many love starred Boris Karloff as Ancient Egyptian priest Imhotep and 10 years later, Ardath Bey.  UMU discussed the film in depth in our “UMU Discusses The Mummy 1932.”

Jack Pierce did a great job with the makeup.  But unlike Frankenstein or The Wolf Man, this wasn’t an extremely heavy special effects and makeup film.  If anything, The Mummy might be the most simplistic one in terms of the creature. – UMU’s Steven

After re-watching, UMU’s Joe went on to do a profile on the female lead of The Mummy, Zita Johann.  In “The Power of Zita Johann”, Joe wrote about her being a theater actress, not being the first choice for the role, and her avid interest in mysticism.

However, it was not easy working with director Karl Freund.  It was his first picture as a director but he had done cinematography for Universal’s Dracula.  Zita felt because she was a theater actress, she was better than a Hollywood actress.  Freund saw this and at one point wanted her to portray Ankhesenamon only partially clothed so she would refuse and he could get her fired.  She snapped back, saying if he were able to get it passed the censors, she’d do it. (“I want you to play it from the waist up nude.”) – UMU’s Joe

The Mummy (1959)

W. Jimmy Sangster

D. Terence Fisher

mummy

Yes, The Mummy from 1959 is not actually a Universal Studios Monster movie, but a Hammer production, distributed by Universal.  Hammer produced some of the best and most classic of horror movies and The Mummy is one of the finest, if not better than the Karl Freund original.

Directed by Terence Fisher, an English director for Hammer Films, and starring Christopher Lee as the mummy, Kharis, this is the Mummy movie that left the biggest impact on me.  I watched this version several times and Christopher Lee delivered a magnificent performance as Kharis.

I’ll never forget the scene where Kharis comes for Peter Cushing’s John Banning in the study and breaks through the glass windows.  Frightening, entertaining, and shocking, I need to revisit The Mummy again soon!

The Mummy (1999)

W. Stephen Sommers, Llyod Fonvielle, and Kevin Jarre

D. Stephen Sommers

mummy

The Mummy 1999 is one of my favorite movies of all time.  I saw the film with several of my friends and my family back when it opened in May of ’99.  That Saturday, May 8th, is a day I will never forget.

During “March of Mummies”, Joe did a review for the film entitled “Rewatching A Modern Classic!”  It was actually his first time seeing it this March and here are some of his thoughts:

Universal’s 1999 remake of The Mummy was the third rendition of the famous monster movie up at that time, but it was exciting and enjoyable.

As I have gotten older and have really started to understand movies and the legacies they leave, I began to respect the original monster movies, so seeing The Mummy for the first time, I was amazed by it.  It is such an excellent movie.

We then went on to cover all aspects of the film including the action figures, soundtrack, and video game.  That was so enjoyable and with the film having just been added to Netflix, now may be a really good time to rediscover a modern classic!

Universal’s The Mummy films are some of the most entertaining entries in the Universal Classic Monsters library and a great source to re-explore.  It’s great seeing Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan begin in proper the Universal Monsters Universe of films with The Mummy and, as we know their turning back to the classics, its been revealed that the original Universal films and Hammer films are the ones they’re looking towards.

So how about you check out Amazon, Best Buy, or Barnes and Noble for The Mummy movies if you don’t already own them.  Oh, there are other ways to watch them as well.  But we’re not looking to challenge and defy the gods as Imhotep once did.  And we’re not looking to be signed up for mummification.  We agree with Rick O’ Connell on that one!

As always, make sure to comment below and let us know what your favorite Mummy film was!

(Steven Biscotti – @reggiemantleIII)

 

About the author

Steven Biscotti

Mild mannered reporter, Steven Biscotti, has an avid interest in all things comic books, movies, and music (especially pertaining to Coldplay.) He stands 5'7" tall and prides himself on being the same height as Tom Cruise. Steven's favorite monster movie? "The Mummy (1999)."

Readers Comments (2)

  1. I really love Brendan Fraser in The Mummy, but I am looking forward to see what Tom Cruise brings to it.

    Reply

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