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Mummy's Hand & The Mummy's Tomb, The

Universal // R // August 28, 2001
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Chuck Arrington | posted September 3, 2001 | E-mail the Author
In 1931 Universal studios House of Horror brought to life one of the screen's most enduring horror icons- The Mummy. Boris Karloff's portrayal of the long dead nobleman sent shockwaves throughout the industry and became a bonafide blockbuster for its time. Given the tremendous box office the Mummy generated, a sequel was inevitable. The Mummy's Hand picks up many years later in the sands of Egypt. This time archeologist Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his trusty sidekick "Babe" (Wallace Ford) are trying to scrounge up enough cash to excavate the area where they believe the tomb of Princess Ananka is buried. After being rebuffed by the local museum's director, Professor Andoheb (George Zucco) the duo set out to find an investor who'll see merit in their proposal and fund their dig. In the interim they are content to drown their miseries at the local bar. Once there Babe sets out to con as many free drinks as he can by stumping the locals with his card tricks. When a well-dressed "mark" enters the bar, Babe sets his sights on taking him for as much as he can. If Babe had only stayed current with the entertainment scene in Cairo he would have saved himself a lot of embarrassment and a lot of money for the "mark" is actually "The Great Solvani" (Cecil Kellaway) a magician of some talent who has more tricks up his sleeve than Babe has hairs on his head! After beating Babe unmercifully, Banning pitches the dig to Solvani , who's actually the very normal Tim Sullivan from the exotic locale of…Brooklyn! Excited at the prospect of fame and fortune, Solvani agrees to fund the excavation and away they go in search of diggers and equipment. Unlike the original, The Mummy's Hand has the mummy under the protection, care and control of a band of priests who seek to protect the tomb of Ananka by "siccing" the Mummy on those who would defile her resting place. Herein, is the introduction of "Mummy lore" that was not a part of the original film. In The Mummy The Scroll of Thoth was used to bring Imhotep back from the dead because he was in a word…dead. In The Mummy's Hand the mummy (now Kharis as opposed to Imhotep/ Ardeth Bey) never really died when he was entombed three centuries ago. He was cursed with everlasting life through the power of "Tana fluid". Derived from the brewed essence of "Tana leaves" the fluid is fed to the mummy in order to have him perform various functions. Three leaves will keep his heart beating, six leaves will give him the motivation to go out and kill those who he's ordered to do away with, and nine leaves will make him an uncontrollable monster that will kill everything in his path. When the priests of the Temple of Karnak catch wind of what Banning and Babe have in store for the tomb of Ananka, The Mummy is awakened and terror stalks the desert once again. Admittedly slowly stalking yet stalking indeed! The Mummy's Hand is a fun watch and a worthy entry in Universal's Classic Monster series.

The Mummy's Tomb

At the conclusion of The Mummy's Hand, both the High Priest of the Temple of Karnak and Kharis-The Mummy had been dispatched in such a way that future Mummy films would prove an impossible task. Well, you can't keep a good mummy down and in The Mummy's Tomb; we find that Kharis (now Lon Chaney, Sr.) was in fact merely burned very badly and the high priest escaped the battle with only a shattered arm. (How he only "shattered" his arm through a hail of bullets and a very long fall down the temple steps is beyond me ;-)) Anyway, the high priest is turning over his duties to a younger less-damaged man in the person of Mehemet (Turhan Bey). Their current plan is to avenge the defiling of Ananka's tomb by traveling to America to kill the Banning family and everyone involved in the desecration of her tomb. One by one, the members of the Manning family meets a grisly end at the hands of the mummy. With their deaths, everything is going according to plan until the love bug bites Mehemet. While planning his next murder, Mehemet stumbles upon the younger Banning and his girlfriend "nekkin" in the woods and for Mehemet, it's love at first sight. Instead of sending the mummy out to do away with another Banning, he ships him out to collect Isobel, Banning's girlfriend. Mehemet plans to force Isobel to drink the tana fluid and become his love slave. Before his plan can be put into action, the townspeople find out and set upon Mehemet and the mummy with torches and fists and you guessed it, another chapter in the Mummy saga comes to a flaming end! The Mummy's Tomb much like The Mummy's hand is an awful lot of campy fun and makes for another great chapter in the seemingly never-ending tale of the Mummy!


The audio for both films is presented in the mono platforms that they were released with in 1940 and 1942 respectively. The dialogue is easily understood however; there is a "hiss" in the background that accompanies each film. The "hiss" is not a detraction and is easily ignored. The video segments on each film are presented in their original 1:33.1 full frame and look incredible. The B&W presentations are really clean and have great detail. There are scratches and flecks in each film however; the imagery is very, very good.


The Universal double feature series is really the "extra" itself. While the initial batch of first rung titles boasted an exhaustive look at the "making-of" each feature with before, during and after the film production information, these titles carry a trailer for the film, production notes and cast information. Again you are getting "Two Movies for the price of one!. In any event, the information presented on the original Mummy release explains everything and more about the Mummy and each feature that followed (including these films). On a technical aside when you load the disc, you'll be given the choice of viewing whichever title you'd like to watch first. The order of the films is actually reversed on the menu by its placing of The Mummy's Tomb on the left-hand side of the screen your player will automatically select The Mummy's Tomb. That's Ok if you don't care about continuity in the series. The Mummy's Hand actually came first and it's just easier to start the series at the beginning rather than at the second feature IMHO.


Universal delivers the goods again and presents great films with great transfers and two per disc to boot! It's really a no-brainer. Each Mummy entry is a great way to spend a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon! Recommended

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