The Mummy (1932)

mummy poster 1932 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great make-up, complex story

The mummy make-up is only for one scene

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Mummy

Studio: Universal Studios

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s): December 22, 1932

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

the mummy 1932 imhotep boris karloff make-up

Wake me up, before I go-go

The discovery of the tomb of Imhotep (Boris Karloff) and awaken his mummy by accidentally reading sacred scrolls. The mummy escapes with the Scroll of Thoth and disappears. Ten years later a man named Ardath Bey reveals the location of Ankh-es-en-amon’s tomb to archaelogists. Now Imhotep is looking to reincarnate Ankh-es-en-amon and Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann) looks like she might be the candidate.

The Universal’s The Mummy was directed by Carl Freund and became one of Universal’s classic monsters. Tutankhamun’s tomb was opened in 1922 and there was a real interest in Egyptian culture. The idea of the Curse of the Pharaoh helped inspire this movie and can be seen as the real basis for it.

the mummy 1932 imhotep boris karloff eyes

Yeah…I see you, girl…

The story of The Mummy seems to move really slow. I remember watching it as a kid and wondering where the hell the mummy went (not really understanding that Ardath Bey was Imhotep out of his bandages). Watching it now however, it seems to be a bit more plot driven that some of the other Universal monster movies.

The Mummy is is very well shot and full of iconic images. Be it the mummy coming to life in his sarcophogas, or Karloff’s haunting eyes staring down his victims, The Mummy is just full of beautifully shot scenes. The present day scenes and the flash backs all seem to have a bit higher production value than some horror films. Even Zita Johann’s very classic look helps add to the plot and really gives the picture depth.

the mummy 1932 imhotep princess ankh zita johann boris karloff

Damn, girl…I followed you through time…that’s gotta count for something!

Zita Johann is beautiful in the movie, but Boris Karloff makes The Mummy. His character is dark and brooding. The make-up of The Mummy is some of the best in all the monster movies. The make-up took hours to apply and was suppose to be some of the most painful make-up that Karloff ever endured. Although he is still made up later in the movie, this help explains why Karloff wasn’t the mummy in more scenes…it was just too grueling of a make-up job to do for every shot.

The Mummy is one of the harder monster movies to appreciate as a kid, but is almost more enjoyable as an adult. Unlike many of the other Universal monster movies, The Mummy doesn’t have a true sequel. The next movie in Universal’s Mummy line was The Mummy’s Hand in 1940, but it was more of a remake than a sequel with Tom Tyler stepping in as the mummy.

Related Links:

The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

The Mummy’s Tomb (1942)

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

The Mummy’s Curse (1944)

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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