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Everything to Know About the Mummy


antoniacarlotta
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I keep hearing rumors of another Mummy reboot, so I made a video about the original! A few things I didn't know before making the video:

1. Just how grueling and meticulous the makeup process was
2. The behind-the-scenes drama between Karl Freund and Zita Johann
3. That this film pioneered the use of the process screen, which is a precursor to the modern day green screen

 

 

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Splendid profile on The Mummy, antoniacarlotta!

The plot of The Mummy is essentially a retread of Dracula. The resemblance between the two chillers is more pronounced by the casting of Edward Van Sloan and David Manners who pretty much repeat the roles that they played in Dracula.

Immensely enhancing the standout scene of Imhotep being revivified is Bramwell Fletcher's eerie laughter, which rivals Dwight Frye's creepy heaving as Renfield (another evocation of Dracula) for raising goosebumps and one's neck hairs.

 

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This subscriber already watched it, look forward to every installment. As usual, insightful & revelatory.  Very interesting about Pierce's make up (clay!) & the origins of the story.

I definitely prefer Universal  horror to today's...the aspect of the original Mummy that newer ones don't have? Suspense. Tension should build like winding a spring. Modern movies have far too much action without any building of tension. 

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Thanks for so informative a video, Antonia, obviously done with a lot of love on your part.

I have always been fond of the 1932 Mummy because of its wonderful atmosphere. Yes, it's a little slow, perhaps, but that wonderful moment when the Mummy returns to life, followed by the scream and brain shocked laughter of Bramwell Fletcher, is one of the iconic moments of screen horror. The problem with most of the Universal Mummy sequels is that they were removed from Egypt as a backdrop, set, instead, in America (with the noteworthy exception of The Mummy's Hand, a favourite of mine).

I saw the 1999 Mummy when it originally came out in theatres and enjoyed it very much at the time. Upon seeing it again, however, rather than having an emphasis upon horror, I saw that it played more like an Indiana Jones adventure with a ton of CGI effects. The Mummy Returns followup, also with the engaging Brendan Fraser, was an over the top CGI crazy mess best forgotten.

I prefer the quiet, atmospheric eeriness of the 1932 original to the more recent versions.

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20 hours ago, antoniacarlotta said:

1. Just how grueling and meticulous the makeup process was
2. The behind-the-scenes drama between Karl Freund and Zita Johann
3. That this film pioneered the use of the process screen, which is a precursor to the modern day green screen

 

Good stuff, thank you. 

I liked the 1932 original mostly for Karloff and Zita Johann is one of the sexiest of horror heroines. I found the film to be slow moving and talky at times.

One thing you did not mention was a shocking scene where some slaves are killed with spears. It was graphic and bloody for it's time, still provides a jolt today.

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1 hour ago, TomJH said:

Thanks for so informative a video, Antonia, obviously done with a lot of love on your part.

I have always been fond of the 1932 Mummy because of its wonderful atmosphere. Yes, it's a little slow, perhaps, but that wonderful moment when the Mummy returns to life, followed by the scream and brain shocked laughter of Bramwell Fletcher, is one of the iconic moments of screen horror. The problem with most of the Universal Mummy sequels is that they were removed from Egypt as a backdrop, set, instead, in America (with the noteworthy exception of The Mummy's Hand, a favourite of mine).

I saw the 1999 Mummy when it originally came out in theatres and enjoyed it very much at the time. Upon seeing it again, however, rather than having an emphasis upon horror, I saw that it played more like an Indiana Jones adventure with a ton of CGI effects. The Mummy Returns followup, also with the engaging Brendan Fraser, was an over the top CGI crazy mess best forgotten.

I prefer the quiet, atmospheric eeriness of the 1932 original to the more recent versions.

I am with you on this, TomJH. While the 1999 film is a fun adventure film (I can do without the creepy crawly bugs under the skin, thank you very much), I too prefer the original Mummy. It's one of my favorites of the classic Universal monster films.  It's a great Saturday afternoon player, but better on a rainy, gloomy night. From the opening credits to Im Ho Tep's ruin, it's a great picture.

Eight hours in the makeup chair. Man, that must have been brutal. Good thing Karloff didn't have to be the Mummy throughout the entire film. 

Great video, Antonia. Keep up the great work!

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3 hours ago, TomJH said:

I saw the 1999 Mummy when it originally came out in theatres and enjoyed it very much at the time. Upon seeing it again, however, rather than having an emphasis upon horror, I saw that it played more like an Indiana Jones adventure with a ton of CGI effects. The Mummy Returns followup, also with the engaging Brendan Fraser, was an over the top CGI crazy mess best forgotten.

You're so right that it's more of an Indiana Jones adventure than a horror film. I think that's part of what allows me to enjoy it. It didn't pretend to be a horror film, and it didn't mimic too much of the original so I can separate the two. I'd be happy to watch another 1999-style Mummy film, and I'd also love to see what a real horror filmmaker could do too. 

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Karloff's performance, matched by Jack Pierce's makeup, both as Imhotep and as "Ardath Bey", is unequalled (just as is Karloff's Monster in FRANKENSTEIN).  I love those absolutely terrifying moments when the Mummy comes to life. And his unbridled menace is evil incarnate. Certainly with today's impatient audiences this can be a tough film (hey, it's only 72 minutes!) but if you're game it can be a mesmerizing experience.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think The Mummy (1932) is one of the great, creepy horror films. I also like the sequels made by Universal in the 1940s. 

One of my favorite lines from the original, spoken by Zita Johann to David Manners:

"Do you have to open graves to find girls to fall in love with?
 

12-dm-zj.jpg

 

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