Episode #021 – The Mummy

June 1, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

This month, the Down Placers explore their mummy issues by looking at the first of Hammer Films’ mummy films, 1959’s The Mummy (dir. Terence Fisher). This Cushing-Lee-Ripper team-up tells us what happens when man starts digging where he shouldn’t be digging . . . even if Universal sanctioned the remake to begin with.

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3 Responses to “Episode #021 – The Mummy”
  1. James Brummel says:

    Great movie, one of my favorites period. The whole friggen package. Lee emotes under a ton of wool and slime and breaks your heart. When Pastel is telling him to get back in his box after he knows he failed to kill the last banning an Lee just kind of stands there, like a little kid who knows he did something wrong. Umph. Compare to the more recent SNAKE EYES (de palma) when the fixed boxer hangs his head in shame, awesome body language.

    One issue: Mummies aren’t scary. Just run or speed walk away.

  2. Mark Leeper says:

    Hi guys,

    Your episode about THE MUMMY was a real joy. I have always had a special love of Mummy films. I guess because the mummy has such an exotic origin. I would say that the Hammer THE MUMMY is second only to the Karloff for best mummy film.

    I would add a few comments.

    The set for the dig at the beginning was OK, but feels like an indoor sound-stage to me. I think it detracts from the film.

    For an interval of time there were some Egyptian “archeologists” who would use dynamite, but that was at the very latest in the mid-19th century. Balzoni and Vyse were two who would use dynamite in spite of the damage it would do. Those were actually more plunderers than archeologists. In the film I don’t remember if we even find out what year THE MUMMY starts, but it had to be way too late for these archeologists to be using dynamite and possibly destroying valuable artifacts.

    As is frequently noted, Karnak is a place not a god. I seem to remember even Cushing told them that. But it never got corrected.

    That was a bad error in the script and even one the filmmakers supposedly knew they were making.

    You said very little (at first it sounded like it would be none at all) about a great Hammer character actor with a terrific sonorous voice, George Pastel. This is the film I know him best for, but he was in CURSE OF THE MUMMY’S TOMB, THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY, and SHE. Also he was in KHARTOUM and KONGA and he was the train conductor in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. The man had a really great voice.

    Just a few bits to ad on. Keep up the great shows.

    You talked about how realistic the mummy wrappings were. You did not mention the issue about separately wrapping the legs. Do you ever remember seeing a mummy in a museum whose legs were not bound together? Almost every mummy has its legs bound so it would walk around only like a Chinese hopping ghost or a participant in a sack race. But in the horror movies, you never see the mummy’s legs bound together. My understanding is that the Egyptians did bind the legs separately inside, but then have an outer layer that bound the legs together.

    I have seen in a museum only one mummy that did not have its legs wrapped together. There is in the British Museum a mummy bound in a sort of basket weave of bandages. And its legs are bound separately. (Actually it looks a lot like the mummy in THE MUMMY’S SHROUD, for which it was probably the inspiration.)

    I am not an expert, but I think that living mummies would have to remove some layers of outer wrappings before they could walk.


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  1. […] on DVD and will be released on Blu-ray in October. Check out the trailer on YouTube and listen to episode 21 of the 1951 Down Place podcast as Derek and the boys do their usual top shelf review of this amazing […]

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