Much like the way the horror films of the 80's and 90's eventually spawned
self-conscious parody, Universal's astonishing collection of horror masterpieces in
the 30's (Dracula, The Invisible Man, the Frankenstein
inevitably lead to their producing films like Abbott and Costello Meet the
Mummy (1955). In fact, Abbott and Costello
Meet... is practically a genre in and of itself; In addition to the Mummy, they met
the Keystone Kops, Boris Karloff, the Invisible Man, and others. Abbott and
Costello Meet the Mummy is one of the last of these films and the formula had
grown a little stale, with some jokes allowed to run a little too long. Still, there is an
innocence in the Abbott and Costello style that will always be charming. When a fast
talking broad hands the fellas a card with her address and phone number, their
stammering embarrassment is truly funny.
The film itself is a slight tale of misunderstandings and wrongful accusations. The
boys find themselves in hot water after foolishly setting themselves up for a murder
rap while trying to locate a cursed Mummy. Characters of vague ethnicity plot
against the unwitting heroes and hilarity, as they say, ensues. There is nothing
sophisticated about the humor here, mostly broad jokes aimed at the
popcorn-throwing matinee rascals of the 50's. Still, it's harmless fun that can
hopefully still be enjoyed by kids and adults.
The black and white full-screen video is actually quite beautiful. After a few early
beat-up stock shots, the film itself proves to be well preserved. Some slight damage
and dirt appears but overall it looks fine, with good contrast and sharp focus.
The audio is also surprisingly robust. The music sounds dynamic and the dialog clear
and easily understood. No subtitles are included, but the disc is close captioned.
A trailer and some text screens are included.
While not the peak of sophisticated comedy and with nothing equal to their
legendary routines, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy contains its share
of loony laffs. To say that it now looks dated is beside the point. The film is like a
time capsule to a style and a genre that simply no longer exists.