Halloween Review – “The Mummy” (1932)

This is the classic with Boris Karloff, and not the
forgettable Brendan Fraser movie that it inspired a
few decades later.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Boris Karloff as the Mummy Imhotep

Zita Johann as Helen

Edward van Sloan as Dr. Muller

David Manners as Frank Whemple

Arthur Byron as Sir Joseph Whemple

Screenplay by John L. Balderston, based on the story
by Nina Wilcox
Putnam and Richard Schayer

Directed by Karl Freund

Complete information is available from the

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Past movie reviews can be found here.


An ancient mummy is accidentally restored to life,
and he begins
seeking his mate.

High Point

The eyes open.

Low Point

It sure doesn’t take long for the hero to fall in
love with the heroine.

The Scores

The resurrected mummy may seem cliche now, but this
is where it
happened first. (On screen, at least.) The fact
that the villain was
still scary, and not operating by trying to hunt
things down is a nice
touch, too. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were accomplished with makeup
and lighting in
most cases. I must say that observing through the
pool of water would
have been hard at the time, but it was pulled off
extremely well,
right down to distortions like the surface of a pool
in a couple of
places. The fact that the effects used in 1932 still
look good today
is amazing. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is a simple one, but it works as a
tragic horror.
We understand what drove this individual to the life
he chose, and we
feel some measure of sympathy for him as he adjusts
to the modern
world. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is stiff and over the top in many
cases. Karloff
and van Sloan are the only cast members doing their
jobs right.
(Karloff was deliberately stiff in his body language,
and he was still
more expressive than other cast members.) I give it
4 out of 6.

The emotional response this produces is
milder now than at
its original release. Society has had over 70 years
to desensitize
itself to this sort of thing. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production was very well done. The
Universal monster
classic have always had fantastic lighting. This one
also had some
tricky work with a moving camera, which was still
uncommon in 1932. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s worth looking at to see where
today’s horror
comes from, or as a classic of low key lighting. If
you can’t take
today’s horror, this serves as a good warm up as
well. I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, The Mummy receives 31 out of 42.

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