Classics Review: The Mummy (1932)

During The Great Depression, Universal Pictures developed a string of successful box office hits during the “Golden Age Of Hollywood” typically involving monster pictures such as Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Wolf Man and of course the following review depicted on this article. Before Marvel, DC, Godzilla, Universal was the first to establish the concept of world building involving crossovers featuring one character meeting another from a separate film. The films involving the creatures is called “Universal Monsters,” which is named after the major studio and the characters who are literally monsters. The cinematic universe became influential in today’s movie going experience. If it weren’t for monsters, we would’ve never got Marvel, DC and Godzilla movies.

Famous stars from The Golden Age, played the iconic monsters such as Boris Karloff, (Frankenstein, The Mummy) Bela Lugosi (Dracula) and Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man) All of them became a household name over their signature roles. One of the “Classic Reviews” of the day is none other than Boris Karloff’s classic role as Imhotep in “The Mummy.”

The Mummy was released in 1932 earning positive reception over the years as an iconic film in the Universal Monsters franchise. Besides leaving an impressive legacy spawning sequels and crossover appearances, the original film managed to make money at the box office.

In response to the upcoming reboot starring Tom Cruise, (he’s not playing the title character) I thought it be a cool idea to look back at the original released in 1932 to see if this one still holds up 75 years later

The premise is a simplistic tale about a guy who comes back from the dead and his main goal is to seek out a woman he believes is possibly his old flame reincarnated. It’s not really a high stakes movie. This is just a plain old tale.

For those who are newcomers to The Mummy lore, here’s a non-SPOILER article. If you haven’t got a chance to view the original, feel free to read this review. I’ll have you know this is a short review, as it’s not quite an epic high stakes action flick.

Positive: Boris Karloff’s as the sinister but sympathetic titular character.

The prosthetic makeup still holds up for movie released in the 1930’s.

Costume Design reflects Imhotep’s physical presence.

The Cinematography was spot on.

Before C.G.I. was introduced, practical effects were heavily involved and they’ve aged pretty well.

Imhotep’s motivation to resurrect his lost love interest made perfect sense.

Negative: Certain scenes can sometimes be a drab.

The total running time is an hour & ten minutes long. Very uncommon for a feature length movie. I don’t know if they did this back then, but releasing a 70 minute film is the equivalent of a hour episode of a television drama like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead.

The human characters were boring. I didn’t think they were interesting. Rather plain dull.

The Final Verdict: B, FOR BIRDY! (golf term)

In my point of view, or in Star Wars lore, “From a certain point of view.” I thought the original was decent despite a couple of gripes, this went on to become an influential film for future filmmakers like Steven Sommers who went on to remake The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. I was gonna give it a B- but it definitely deserves a B, because Boris Karloff’s performance as the title character was the saving grace.

I’m gonna rewatch the Brendan Fraser films and possibly write an article on each of them & to get ready for Tom Cruise’s film. The upcoming remake has a lot of big shoes to fill.

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