"The Mummy" (1932) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #116 Gem Mint 10.0

“The Mummy“ (1932)

Director: Karl Freund

Writer: Nina Wilcox Putnam, Richard Schayer, John L. Balderston

Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Kathryn Byron, Leonard Mudie, James Crane

Rated: Approved / Pre Code

Runtime: 1h 13min

Genre: Fantasy | Horror

Country: United States

Language: English | Arabic | French | Egyptian (Ancient)

"An Egyptian mummy searches Cairo for the girl he thinks is his long-lost princess."

You might like this if you like: Mummies, Egypt, History, Horror, Fantasy, Monsters, Universal Monsters, Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, Edward Van Sloan, Bramwell Fletcher, Noble Johnson, Karl Freund

Boris Karloff in "The Mummy" (1932)

Without “The Mummy” (1932) where would we be today? Another Universal Monster to add to the ‘Gem Mint’ series! Like I mentioned in my “Dracula” (1931) and “Frankenstein” (1931) review, I discovered the Universal Monsters in my early teens, but with this film in particular is an interesting story.

I grew up exclusively on the Brendan Frasier “Mummy” films that I absolutely fell in love with! I was obsessed! Those were my Indiana Jones films that I treasured, dressed up as, got the games and went on to meet Oded Fehr which completely blew my mind! Thought I felt I had to give credit to OG film, “The Mummy” (1932) which holds all the great moments and rich history that the Brendan Frasier franchise has.

"The Mummy" (1932)

Boris Karloff, the master monster, gets his first speaking role in the Universal Monster classics! He truly does get to shine in this, on the frankly, more human side of things! The whole film feels much like period piece and less a fantasy or Sci-Fi story that say “Dracula” (1931) and “Frankenstein” (1931) had. I enjoyed the change of pace when re-watching, a change in scenery and a more dramatic tone.

I think I can say after “Dracula” (1931) and “Frankenstein” (1931), that everyone needs to listen to Edward Von Sloan! His characters are always right!

Boris Karloff (left) & Zita Johann (right) in "The Mummy" (1932)

The character entanglements that I love about this certainly stem same from the Brendan Frasier franchise, and also has more of the character development and interweaving I loved from “Frankenstein” (1931). In particular, Zita Johann’s character Helen Grosvenor aka Anuk Su Namun, and that whole relationship with Boris Karloff’s Imhotep is what I loved so much about the remakes. Zita was fantastic In this!

Boris Karloff (left) & Bramwell Fletcher (right) in "The Mummy" (1932)

Everyone was enjoyable to watch, but it’s really Boris Karloff that holds the performances for me. I think I love the history, the mythology and it’s cultural impact more than anything. What’s its led to obviously and a truly wonderful Boris Karloff performance. Certainly worthy of my ‘Gem Mint’ series.

Written by Sam Gall on June 29, 2021

CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0

"Poetic, brilliant, creepy horror classic with a great Karloff performance" - Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

"As in Frankenstein, Karloff's ability to communicate through his makeup is vital to establishing his character, even in human form, it's clearly pain and not incarnate evil that dictates his actions." - David Parkinson, Empire Magazine

"An eerie, weirdly moving film about loneliness and the persistence of history." - Keith Phipps, AV Club

"The things that endure in moviedom from The Mummy are the pith helmets and fezzes, the ancient curses, the protective amulets, and the rational disdain for the supernatural that invariably comes back to haunt our heroes." - MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher

"A sombre and atmospheric depiction of eternal passion and occult reincarnation." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out

"Boris Karloff's disguise of living death is astounding. In the hands of a lesser artist the representation would be grotesque; Karloff's mummy is sinister and uncomfortably lifelike. The story is equally remarkable." - Mercury Staff, The Mercury (Australia)

Official Trailer:

Behind the Scenes:

Available on various VOD platforms

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