Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Mummy's Hand (1940)

A down-on-his-luck anthropologist (Dick Foran) comes across an ancient vase in a bazaar that may hold the key to the location of the tomb of a princess. He convinces his good buddy (Wallace Ford) to buy it and they take it to the Cairo Museum, but it is declared a fake by Dr. Andoheb (George Zucco). Turns out, however, that the good doctor moonlights as the newly anointed High Priest of Karnak and isn't too keen on whitey pillaging the sacred artifacts of his homeland. Not to be deterred, our heroes con a magician (Cecil Kellaway) into financing their expedition.

Let's have some mummy back story, shall we? Way back when Kharis (Tom Tyler) tried to steal the sacred Tana leaves in order to bring his true love, Princess Ananka, back to life. He is caught, buried alive, and said leaves were used to keep him that way to ensure his torture. The tomb our heroes are looking for is hers, but the mummy they find is his. And Andoheb gives it a mega-dose of Tana to turn him into "an uncontrolled monster, a soulless demon with the desire to kill and kill".

It's a comedy, ladies and gentlemen. Not a pure comedy, but certainly played for laughs in equal measure to thrills. Ford played something akin to Costello to Foran's not Abbot. Foran is more leading man then straight man. Gosh, think he'll hit it off with the magician's pretty daughter? Yes, of course. Don't be stupid. Perhaps you remember Ford as Phroso the Clown in Freaks.

Why did it take eight years for a sequel? I'm guessing the Frank and Drac show ran a bit thin and they needed to expand their horror horizons. Here's where they'd use the word "Reboot" had it existed. Why his 'hand'? Not sure. Maybe because he would get more use of his arm and foot once he got more of that luscious tana oil. Not much for laughs or thrills, nor much originality in the story. Maybe I should try to track each time the lumbering monster carries away the fainted maiden leaving the heroes to frantically search for her. Still, it was worth watching. AMRU 3.

Word of note: when planning the "theme" for this October, I had decided on vampires. Then I thought Mummies. Finally I decided on witches. Then I watched this. Way to stick to a plan, Fred.

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