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Monday, May 26, 2008

THE MUMMY (1932)

Great cinematographers rarely make brilliant transitions to the director’s chair, but Karl Freund’s few horror films as director (particularly this one as well as MAD LOVE/'35 & the rarely screened, but nifty little musical MOONLIGHT & PRETZELS/'33) are each oddly mesmerizing. Compared to other titles in the ranks of Universal horror classics (FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA, WEREWOLF, INVISIBLE MAN) the MUMMY is light on thrills & chills, aiming instead for a kind of perverse poetic longing. With it’s dreamy dramatic pacing, exquisite art decoration & lighting, as well as Boris Karloff’s wonderfully tactile perf (both wrapped and unwrapped), plus Zita Johann ’s wide-eyed allure, the film is closer to an objet d’art than a typical commercial feature. Only Edgar Ulmer’s THE BLACK CAT/'34, also with Karloff, is comparable. Make the effort to adjust your pace to the film's creepy crawl and THE MUMMY can easily get under your skin.

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