The Universal Horror Films have long been among my favorite films. There's something aesthetically appealing for me to see Dracula, Frankenstein,the Wolfman, etc. on my television. The Mummy was a film I had never seen until 2011 surprisingly. Spoilers will surely follow this review but I doubt many people care about these types of films anymore because they made a remake of it. I'm looking at you friends, and random readers of this review. Pick up these films. They ARE horror.
When the film starts they have discovered this mummy, Imhotep (Karloff). Accompanying Imhotep is the scroll of Thoth. The scroll has the power to bring life to the undead;however, the scroll was placed in a box with warning signs not to open it. One of the archeologists happens to read from the Scroll and brings Imhotep back to life.After seeing this, the archeologist goes insane. The film then picks up 10 years later. Karloff is dressed as a present Egyptian and not in the mummy wrappings we all know.
I knew from other films Karloff was a good actor, but I never knew until this film exactly how good he was. His eyes can covey a multitude of reactions from terror to sadness. His lines when he's talking to Helen (Johann) dressed up as anaksunamun, really hit my feelings button hard. Another trait that goes unnoticed was how good of an actress Zita Johann was. There was something real about those two characters, that even though the Mummy/Mummy returns was featured around, never captured.
The director of the film, Karl Freund, shot it in such a way as to bring realism to Egypt. The more I learn about this film, the more I respect it. Check out the process that it took to apply the makeup to Karloff and how truly painful it must have been. I really enjoyed it to the tune of an A. It wasn't the most enjoyable Universal Monster, but it was a great film. You may think of it as a B, B- or even worse. Honestly, it's a travesty (and I hope I am wrong) that so many people may not enjoy this film. Try it. It's amazing.
Enjoyable Film: A-/A
Great Film: A-