I thought it was about time to watch the old classic The Mummy, which suddenly started sounding awfully fun, so I ordered up that shit. Only what I got was a 1959 Hammer studios production starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. But that sounded amusing in itself, so in it went. It was a bit of a surprise to find it in color. Anyway, we open in 1895 at an archeological dig in Egypt, where they're looking for the tomb of Ananka, who vanished while traveling, and apparently had a massive ceremonial tomb that would have taken months to prepare made on the spot, rather than transport her back to her city? Let's not think on this too deeply.
So they find the tomb, and come back to tell Peter Cushing as John Banning, who has broken his leg. He is ignoring advice to go back and have his leg set, or it will knit in place and he'll be lame forever, but his own father is there encouraging him to stay. So dad and uncle are set to go into the tomb, when a local dude, Mehmet Bey, appears out of nowhere and says that "those who disturb the tombs of Egypt... DIE!" I'm afraid it comes off as a bit of an anti-climax. They just "die?" They don't suffer the torments of a thousand burning hellfires? They don't know agonizing pain as they're slowly eaten by flesh-devouring scarabs? They just die? Doesn't actually sound like that big of a deal.
So dad goes in, they discover it is actually the long-lost tomb of Ananka, and uncle goes back to tell John. Meanwhile dad removes this jar which was holding up a bunch of sand, which starts streaming out, causing the tomb to close and a mysterious portal to open, in a Raiders of the Lost Ark way that is very fun. Soon we learn that dad has seen something that has driven him mad. Then we join Mehmet as he is swearing vengeance for Karnak. Then--back to England!
It's three years later. I'm glad they gave it the years for them to make this voyage, as opposed to something like BS Dracula, which imagines that people could just pop from Victorian England over to Transylvania in an hour or two with just a few transfers. The old gang is all there, John, dad and uncle, as well as John's lovely lady, Isabel. And so is Mehmet, who has hired these two local drunkards to transport this giant crate to his house. They have ye olde wild carriage ride through the bog, and the crate falls in and sinks. Mehmet is like "Eh, shit happens," and as soon as everyone leaves, he performs a rite that causes the mummy to rise from the swamp. This mummy is quite large and bulky, and has human eyes. Amusement for the dirty-minded can be had in the minutes after 26:00 in which Mehmet shouts, as part of of his spell: "Bukkake! Bukkake!"
In short order dad is dead, and interest may flag because you know that there are only going to be three victims, and they're all old men. But then John explains the hidden secrets of Ananka, and we're whisked away into a flashback that brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid technicolor! So Ananka is dead, and she had this boyfriend, who snuck in at night and opened her tomb... for some reason, I forgot what... but he was caught, and as punishment was mummified and placed in the closet as Ananka's eternal guardian. Then we see John's dad, and re-view a lot of the same footage we saw at the beginning, before we find out that after uncle left, the mummy came out and frightened dad out of his wits. You'll also notice that this flashback is quite long and barely conveys any information--certainly nothing that couldn't be expressed in a single line of dialogue--but we do get some cheesy recreation of ancient Egypt, which obviously British women are given a touch a bronzer, which makes them supposedly then Egyptian, and other wan amusements.
In here you might be like “Umm, isn’t Christopher Lee supposed to be in this movie? Where is he?” I kept waiting for him to show up as a late-introduced character, thinking “They wouldn’t make him the mummy, would they? And have him covered up for the entire film?” But indeed they do—and that’s a partial reason for the useless flashback, so Lee can have a little face time. But seeing him in skin-tight bandages for the entire movie, one can admire that Lee is quite a well-built fellow, which I had not recognized before.
SPOILERS (NOT REALLY) > > >
So before you know it, John’s uncle is also a cold, dead corpse, and John has both seen the mummy and put two bullets into it to no avail. Then we also find that his beautiful ladyfriend, Isabel, is a dead ringer for Ananka. Oh dear, there’s always some reincarnated girlfriend. This is also why we had the flashback, so we could see her back in the day. As the story goes on, you’ll have cause to note what a lucky coinkidink it is that John has a girlfriend that looks exactly like Ananka, and how the story would have gone if he didn’t. For example, what if she looked like Stockard Channing?
So the mummy pops round and tries to strangle John, only Isabel shows up and the mummy feels all confused inside, so he goes back home. We see that this mummy is having second thoughts about Mehmet. Then John stops by to visit Mehmet and confirm that he’s the one behind all this, simultaneously letting Mehmet know that he’s still alive. Then—you know what? I’m too bored reciting this to go through the ending, which I’m sure is not that different than you can imagine it from here. So let’s just leave that all for you to discover for yourself.
< < < SPOILERS END
Yeah, you know, it was fine. Nothing you need to run out and see. Fun enough. Most people on the IMDb like it and consider it one of Hammer’s best and perhaps the best Mummy film, which is easy to see when you factor in the crapalicious 1999 Brendan Frasier film (which isn’t even a Mummy movie proper). Anyway, not much more to add, just a shrug and an “eh.” Amusing enough, nothing more.
If you feel like it, You’ll be fine if you don’t.