The Mummy (1959) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux, Eddie Byrne directed by Terence Fisher Movie Review

The Mummy (1959)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Christopher Lee in The Mummy (1959)

The Mummy is the Daddy

It has been John Banning's (Peter Cushing) life long work to uncover the secrets of the Egyptian pyramids and whilst a broken leg prevents him entering a pyramid his father Stephen (Felix Aylmer) goes in his place along with old friend Joseph (Raymond Huntley). As Stephen and Joseph explore the ancient tomb Stephen inadvertently releases a 4000 year old curse when they read an ancient scroll which brings to life the priest Kharis (Christopher Lee) who was buried alive with the queen. The sight of this Mummy causes Stephen to go insane whilst current High Priest Mehemet (George Pastell) steals the scroll and with the Mummy heads to Britain to avenge those involved in entering the tomb.

No matter how old a movie is my main concern is will it entertain me, that takes precedence over originality, camera work, editing, effects and acting although all those things can contribute to making a movie entertaining. As such whilst it is now over 50 years old "The Mummy" from the Hammer film company is still an entertaining movie even though it is of course dated. There is something simply classical about it which draws you in, maybe it is the recreation of the Victorian era adding to the sense of adventure, maybe it is the familiar British actors playing movie stereotypes but something about "The Mummy" is appealing and still works.

Peter Cushing in The Mummy (1959)

Now the irony is that "The Mummy" does not have the greatest of storyline, Victorian archaeologists break into a pyramid, high priest wants to avenge them for the desecration of the tomb so unleashes a Mummy on those involved in England. But there is a twist to proceedings although when you have watched a few of these archaeological horror movies the twist is not that much of a surprise as The Mummy discovers someone who looks like the Queen who he died for. Yet having said that somehow this simple and now familiar storyline is enough to draw you in and keep you watching.

The reason for this is that "The Mummy" is a very visual movie be it the tomb in Egypt with a few traps to a scene of the Mummy rising out of the muddy water from a bog in England. When you see the towering and imposing figure of The Mummy standing and staring there is something genuinely unsettling about him. And it is more than that as there is also a real ominous aspect to this with some impressive scenes such as The Mummy breaking into a mental institution where Stephen Banning resides having gone insane.

What this all boils down to is that "The Mummy" is still an impressive movie and manages to draw the audience in and keep them involved through the look, atmosphere and great story telling. In many ways it is superior to the more recent incarnations of "The Mummy" storyline because whilst a visual movie it also thrives on its atmosphere.