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Egypt 1895: Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer), his son John (Peter Cushing)
& John's uncle Joseph (Raymnd Huntley) find the fabled tomb of Egyptian
princess Ananka, & in it the equally fabled scroll of life. But when
Stephen is left alone in the tomb for a few minutes, he goes mad, & the
scroll (as well as a few other relics) are gone.
3 years later, England:
Stephen had been in a mental asylum for the last 3 years in total oblivion of
anything that might have happened in Egypt, or indeed of everything else, when
all of a sudden he wants to see his son ... & tries to persuade the boy
that he is menaced by something they had dug up in Egypt, but remains rather
vague about wht that might be. Everyone dismisses Stephen's ideas as paranoia,
ignorant of course to the fact that that same day, local sinister Egyptian
Mehmet Akir (George Pastell) has delivered a mummy (Christopher Lee) from
Ananka's tomb to his place, & with the scroll of life, he is able to revive
that mummy & send it out to avenge itself on those who desecrated his tomb
... so the next day, Stephen is found, brutally murdered ...
John & uncle
Joe try to make heads & tails of this story, & in their investigation
stumble over the legend of Ananka (played by Yvonne Furneaux in the flashbacks)
& her highpriest Kharis (Christopher Lee) who had an illicit affair with
her, & after her death tried to revive her with the scroll of life ... but
was caught, brutally tortured, bandaged like a mummy, & buried alive to
watch over Ananka's dead body ...
No sooner have they told the storya to each
other does the mummy enter & kill Uncle Joe, before John's very eyes ...
is next on the list, & right the next evening, the mummy comes for him, but
is stopped by John's wife Isobel, who bears a striking resemblance to Ananka
(& is thus also played by Yvonne Furneaux), which is why the mummy listens
to her command.
The next day, John - having against all odds convinced police
inspector Mulrooney (Eddie Byrne) of his crazy mummy story - agrees to act as a
decoy for the police to catch the mummy, but the plan almost fails when Mehmet
Akir has taken some precautions against the police himself, & soon again,t
he mummy is at John's throat, when again in comes Isobel & stops the mummy
... but when Mehmet Akir tries to silence Isobel, he earns the wrath of his own
mummy & is killed by it.
The mummy then takes Isobel to his watery grave
in the swamps, but Isobel persuades the mummy to let her down before its body
is perforated by the bullets of the police ...
After the runaway
success of both Curse of
Frankenstein (1957) & Dracula
(1958), it seemed only logical for Hammer to make a film about the Mummy,
preferably directed Terence Fisher & starring Peter Cushing &
Christopher Lee. As a whole, The Mummy is the least successful of the
three, both on a commercial and an artistical level, which is not to say it is
a bad movie, it's a rather slow-moving mood-piece relying more on dialogue
& less on action than it's predecessors. But the acting is atgain
outstanding, as is the use of colour (which would be the rule for Hammer's
early colour Gothics), & director Terence Fisher definitely knew how to
create a creepy atmosphere.