The Mummy's Tomb
the mummy's tomb | the mummy | harold young | griffin jay | henry sucher | lon chaney jr. | dick foran | john hubbard | curse | sequel | universal | drama | fantasy | mystery | thriller | elyse knox | george zucco | wallace ford | turhan bey | virginia brissac | cliff clark
Film: The Mummy’s Tomb
Director: Harold Young
Writers: Griffin Jay and Henry Sucher
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Dick Foran and John Hubbard
This is a movie that I didn’t know about until getting in the Universal horror classics. This is the second sequel to The Mummy. I’ll be honest, I was late the game with these movies. I only watched the original for the first time a couple years ago, which I feel was at the Gateway Film Center or just in prep to watch the movie prior to this one. Regardless, this is a first-time watch.
Synopsis: the ancient Egypt mummy, Kharis (Lon Chaney Jr.), is transported from his homeland with the high priest Mehemet (Turhan Bey) to wreak vengeance on the family who defiled the sacred tomb of his beloved Princess Ananka.
We start this getting a recap of the first movie through Stephen Banning (Dick Foran) telling the events of the earlier movie. What is interesting is that this is supposed to take place 30 years after The Mummy’s Hand. This was made only two years later though. There are plot-holes that come from this with dialogue, but I digress. Stephen is now an old man and he has an adult son John (John Hubbard). Stephen tells the story of finding Princess Ananka along with his run in with Andoheb (George Zucco) and the mummy, Kharis. Listening to his tale is Isobel Evans (Elyse Knox). She is engaged to marry John. There is also Mrs. Evans (Virginia Brissac) listening. They don’t believe Stephen though.
The movie then shifts us over to show that Andoheb survived. He has trained Mehemet on how to control Kharis. He sends him on a mission of revenge to America. Mehemet takes up residence as the caretaker to a cemetery close to the Bannings. He sends Kharis into the night on the full moon to extract revenge.
As murders occur, the police are baffled. John can’t fathom who would want to kill his father. The evidence is strange. Despite it pointing toward the mummy, John still doesn’t believe the story his father told. Mehemet ends up falling for Isobel and alters his plan to marry her instead of John, while killing off those that wronged the ancient princess.
That is where I’ll leave my recap. We get a typical Universal sequel here. It is a similar movie to the earlier one, just tweaking things. What is interesting is that I know when the Gateway did a Hammer retrospective, one of their mummy movies is a remake of this one. I don’t want you to think that I dislike this or feel that it is weak, I just wanted to establish this before moving on.
Where I’ll go then would be the story itself. I like that this movie jumped into the future. They don’t think the world was going to be that much different since this technically takes place in the 1970s. I also saw a bit of trivia stating that World War II is happening, so they either didn’t consider not using current events or that war went on a long time. These are problematic, but also don’t ruin the movie. They aged up Stephen, gave him an adult son and allowed the latter to be the star. I also like that they brought back Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford), who was the sidekick to Stephen.
Another issue I have is that Kharis was set on fire at the end of the earlier movie. I like that instead of Boris Karloff reprising the role, we get another great with Chaney. Burning the creature explains the change and that is fine. What doesn’t is that there’s no way the mummy survives what happened. I understand it is a supernatural creature that shouldn’t be alive regardless. It might work better to have another mummy be used here. The love story between Kharis and Ananka has no bearing. I don’t think audiences would care. It just feels lazy and wanting to use an established name.
What is good though is the acting. I liked Foran taking on his role again and as I said, allowing Hubbard to take over as our lead. Knox isn’t given much to work with outside of being John’s love interest as well as the damsel in distress. Zucco plays another character that I don’t buy still being alive, but it is more plausible than Kharis. He was fine in his cameo. Same with Ford. Bey makes a solid enough villain. I hate that he must ‘fall in love’ though as that feels clinch even for the era. Other than that, I thought the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed. Special credit to Chaney as Kharis. I like his physical performance in the role. His size was also good.
Other than that, I’ll finish with the filmmaking. I thought that the cinematography was fine. It doesn’t do anything out of the normal for the era. Jack P. Pierce did great things with the make-up of Kharis. I wanted to make sure I gave him a shout-out. There aren’t a lot in the way of effects, but it also doesn’t need them. This is also still early into cinema as well. Other than that, the soundtrack fit for what was needed. It didn’t stand out or hurt the movie.
In conclusion, this movie was a decent enough sequel. I’ve come to learn that I’m fascinated by Egyptian history and the concept of the mummy is an interesting monster. The problem is that the movies don’t pull my attention enough. This tries to do something different with a time jump, but not enough care went into that. They also brought back characters that they didn’t necessarily need to. I appreciate the effort though. The acting was fine and the make-up by Pierce was good. There just isn’t a lot that stands out here. I would say this is over average. It just is lacking for me to go higher.
My Rating: 6 out of 10