1932,THE MUMMY Synopsis:
Boris Karloff had already claimed the screen as his own with Frankenstein & with The Mummy he definitively crafted the role of Im-Ho-tep. Buried for 3700 years, the once High Priest lies dormant waiting for someone, anyone to read the life bringing words from the scroll of Thoth. An unwitting assistant reads the words in the presence of the mummified remains of the high priest & The Mummy is born! They don't make movies like this anymore! The Mummy transcends time & death in search for his one & only love the Princess Ankh-Sunaman. He finds her in 1930's Cairo in the person of a budding young socialite. Determined not to be denied her love, Im-Ho-Tep sets out to insure that she is eternally his. Unwilling to allow the Ardeth bay (The Mummy's alter ego) to claim her, a team of British archaeologists set out to destroy him & one by one, they too meet their doom. Will the Mummy regain his princess or will he be thwarted in this century as well as the last? Truly, only time will tell in Universals' classic The Mummy!
Widescreen was nowhere to be found in 1932. As such the films from that era are generally full frame. You may find a few films that have been made to appear as though they are letterboxed but, to my knowledge, they have not been. In any event, the widescreen format is a non-issue regarding the Universal classic monsters series! The print itself is beautiful. Yes Virginia, there is flecking & some scratches & a hair or two but overall, the images are incredible for a 68 year old film! There is something very nostalgic about B&W films. I don't think I could stand to see any of them colorized! The B&W actually adds to the terror & is very much a character itself! Much Like Frankenstein, The print for The Mummy Sparkles with clarity. And much like Frankenstein, The Mummy is loaded with flecks & scratches and they all go to adding to the overall feel of the movie. The flecking & scratches are much like the crackling & popping on vinyl. There's just something about it that just makes it more comfortable, kind of like an old friend or an old comfortable chair. To clean it up would remove all the stuff you've grown accustomed to! Hats off to whoever designed the menu screens, not only are they easy to use but they are incredibly detailed as well!
The audio as presented is a Dolby 2.0 Mono presentation. Perfect for the film at hand! Additionally, there is a running commentary provided by Film Historian Paul M. Jensen. He had a lot of information regarding the Universal Classic Monsters Collection with, The Mummy being the central figure but I found his commentary distracting other than insightful. Just like I did with the Frankenstein commentary. I really love this film & although he provided a wealth of information, I feel it would have been better suited for a separate entry within the special features portion of the disc. Just a very minor dig. These historians have an incredible amount of information at their disposal & I am amazed at the depths to which they go to provide it. I do think though, I'd like to see it as a separate entity.
I don't think that you could cram any more information into these discs than what is already here! The coolest part of the SE is an entry entitled Mummy Dearest: A Horror Tradition Unearthed! Once again David Skal thrills us with his extensive knowledge & interviews. I don't know about anyone else but I really look forward to Rick Baker's segments as he imparts the makeup/effects styles used by the legendary Jack Pierce. As these are classic horror movies it's only fair that they receive "classic" treatment. That can be seen in the wealth of supplemental materials that are on this disc! There's the feature commentary provided by Paul M. Jensen. The Mummy Archives which is a collection of stills & promotional materials for the film from around the globe. Production notes for the feature, Cast & Filmmaker's bios & film highlights, The original trailer for the film and web links for Universal for those of you with DVD-ROM capability.
The Mummy is just another of Universal's masterpieces of horror. It defies all attempts at duplication by remaining the absolute best of its kind! When the Remake of the Mummy was released last year on DVD, it was a benchmark for what "loaded" discs should look like. While it was stylish & full of CGI, it had none of the charm of the original 1932 Karloff classic. The Mummy has been often imitated. It has a number of movies within it's own series that were even produced by Universal. While they too are entertaining, they pale in the face of the original. The only title close enough to even be mentioned with Karloff's classic is Hammer Studios-"The Mummy". With Peter Cushing as the archaeologist & Christopher Lee as the Mummy, you had a recipe for success. That title has yet to be released on disc and is definitely the only other "True" Mummy film to date IMHO. In any event, Universal's 1932 The Mummy is an incredibly unequalled tale of terror that still does the Job!