the mummy 1932

The Mummy 1932

The Mummy is a 1932 horror film from Universal Studios directed by Karl Freund and starring Boris Karloff as a revived ancient Egyptian priest. The movie also features Zita Johann, David Manners and Edward van Sloan. It was shot in Cantil, California, Universal City, and the Mojave Desert.

  • Henry Victor appears in the credits of the film as “Saxon Warrior,” yet he never actually appears in the movie. The Saxon Warrior was part of a long flashback sequence showing all the heroine’s past lives from ancient Egypt to the present. The sequence was cut from the final film.
  • ‘Ardath Bey’ (the name Imhotep assumes after his exhumation) is an anagram of ‘Death by Ra’ (Ra is the Egyptian sun-god).
  • Boris Karloff mummy makeup is based on the appearance of Ramses III; makeup artist ‘Jack P. Pierce’ spent eight hours applying Karloff’s makeup.
  • The ring Boris Karloff uses has been in the possession of Forrest J Ackerman for many decades (he wears it).
  • A lengthy and complicated re-incarnation scene, so important to the plot, never made it into the film because such scenes were banned from the screen by the Hays Office. This upset many people, including the film’s leading actress, Zita Johann, who was a firm believer in re-incarnation.
  • The film’s poster holds the record for the most money paid for a movie poster at auction: more than $453,500.
  • This was the first assignment in the director’s chair for the noted German cinematographer Karl Freund. He was given this opportunity only two years after arriving in the United States.
  • Boris Karloff was virtually unknown when he appeared as the creature in Frankenstein (1931). He created such a sensation that when this was made, only a year later, Universal only had to advertise “KARLOFF….’The Mummy’.”
  • This is the only Universal monster of the time without a fictional antecedent. Large segments of the movie are scene-by-scene parallels of the movie Dracula (1931). An ankh symbol (the ancient Egyptian glyph for “life”) is substituted for the crucifix of the earlier movie.
  • The script for this movie was originally called “Cagliostro”, based on the famous French “prophet”/charlatan who claimed that he had lived for several centuries. It was then rewritten to profit from the love of all things Egyptian since the finding of King Tut’s tomb, re-titled “Im-Ho-Tep”, and only became “The Mummy” just before general release.
  • The flashback scenes in ancient Egypt were designed to resemble a silent film, with no dialog, exaggerated make-up and gestures, and a faster camera speed, to suggest the great antiquity of the events portrayed.
  • The movie’s poster was as #15 of “The 25 Best Movie Posters Ever” by Premiere.
  • Boris Karloff to make-up artist (and designer of the mummy bandage costume) Jack P. Pierce: “Well, you’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!”
  • So many layers of cotton were glued to Boris Karloff’s face to create the wrinkled visage of Imhotep as a mummy that Karloff was unable to move his facial muscles enough even to speak.
  • When Ardath Bey steals the scroll from the Egyptian Museum, he was supposed to have left powdered skin in the form of a hand-print, as he did when he escaped from his tomb after awakening when the scroll was read. The scene in which the hand-print was discovered was cut from the film, though.
  • The piece of classical music that opened the Dracula film also plays during the opening credits of The Mummy.

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Filed under: Horror

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