Who knew that Hammer even made a version of The Mummy? I don’t think I did until I really started digging to find films from their studios that I had not seen. But they did, in 1958, and to good effect.
Again, we have the dynamic pairing of Peter Cushing (swoon), as the son of the lead archaeologist and Christopher Lee as the title role. Lee is wrapped in bandages and covered with mud for most of the film, and he still manages to evoke pity and even sympathy with his piercing eyes and just a few stiff arm movements.
And you know I’m loving Cushing here. You feel for him after his father dies mysteriously three years after opening the mummy’s tomb, and yet you can’t help but consider that the maurading tomb-raiders sometimes get what they deserve.
There are great, detailed flashbacks which tell the story of the death of Egyptian Princess Ananka and her high priest (also Lee), who ends up entombed with her under sordid circumstances. The production values are a touch lacking here and there (the “ancient” Scroll of Life looks a bit like it was created, oh, yesterday with Crayola poster paints) but the story is solid and captivating. I admit I expected to be a little bit bored by the movie, but in the end I couldn’t look away. That mummy was scary! An abrupt ending is my only real complaint.