The Mummy's Tomb
|The Mummy's Tomb|
The Mummy's Tomb
|Directed by||Harold Young|
|Produced by||Ben Pivar|
|Written by||Neil P. Varnick (story)|
Lon Chaney, Jr.|
|Edited by||Milton Carruth|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Lon Chaney, Jr. disliked the role of Kharis the mummy. Make-up artist Jack Pierce spent up to eight hours to wrap Chaney. A rubber mask was used for long shots. For unknown reasons, Wallace Ford's character's name is changed from Jenson from the previous film to Hanson in this film. The story was continued in the subsequent 1944 film, The Mummy's Ghost.
The Mummy's Tomb picks up the story thirty years after the conclusion of the previous film. It begins with Steve Banning (Dick Foran) recounting the story of Kharis to his family and evening guests in his Mapleton, Massachusetts home. Footage from The Mummy's Hand appears as Banning tells his tale. As he concludes his narrative of the successful destruction of the creature, the scene switches back to the tombs of Egypt.
Surviving their supposed demise, Andoheb (George Zucco) explains the legend of Kharis (Lon Chaney, Jr.) to his follower, Mehemet Bey (Turhan Bey). After passing on the instructions for the use of the tana leaves, and assigning the task of terminating the remaining members of the Banning expedition and their descendants, Andoheb expires. Bey and Kharis leave Egypt for the journey to the United States.
Bey takes the caretaker's job at the local cemetery, sets up shop, and administers the tana brew to Kharis. The monster sets out to avenge the desecration of Ananka's tomb. His first victim is Stephen Banning, whom the creature kills as the aging archaeologist prepares for bed.
As the sheriff (Cliff Clark) and coroner (Emmett Vogan) can't come up with a lead, newspapermen converge on Mapleton to learn more about the murder. Babe Hanson (Wallace Ford) arrives on the scene after learning of his friend's death. When Jane Banning (Mary Gordon), Steve's sister, is killed, Hanson is convinced it is the work of a mummy.
Meeting with the sheriff and coroner, Hanson is unable to convince them of the identity of the culprit. He tells his story to a newspaperman at the local bar, but is himself dispatched by Kharis almost immediately afterwards.
John Banning enlists the help of Professor Norman (Frank Reicher) to solve the puzzle of the "grayish mark" found on the victims. Norman's test results prove that Hanson was right: the substance was indeed mold from a mummy.
Meanwhile, Bey has plans of his own. Knowing that Banning and his girlfriend, Isobel Evans (Elyse Knox) are planning to marry, he sets out to disrupt their nuptials. Bey himself has become smitten with Isobel, and sends Kharis on a mission to bring her to him. Kharis initially balks, but finally adheres to Bey's command. In the dark of the night, the monster stealthily enters the Evans's home and abducts the fainting girl to the cemetery caretaker's hut. Bey unveils his plan to the reluctant Isobel, that she is to become his bride, as a "High Priest of Karnak", and bear him an heir to the royal line.
Banning and the rest of the townspeople have become convinced that their recent Egyptian transplant may be involved in the crimes. Arriving in force, they confront Bey outside the hut. Kharis slips away with Isobel unbeknownst to the horde, and Bey attempts to shoot Banning, but is himself gunned down by the sheriff. The creature is observed heading toward the Banning estate, and the group begins pursuit, many bearing torches. Inside the home, Banning holds Kharis at bay with a torch while he rescues Isobel from the mummy's grasp, but inadvertently sets fire to some curtains. With the aid of the sheriff and coroner, John and Isobel escape via a trellis as Kharis pursues them out onto the upstairs balcony. The townspeople keep the mummy from escaping by hurling additional torches at him, and the monster perishes in the flames of the thoroughly consumed house. Banning and Isobel wed in short order, as he has received his draft notice and is due to report for his tour of duty in World War II.
- Lon Chaney, Jr. as Kharis
- Turhan Bey as Mehemet Bey
- John Hubbard as Dr. John Banning
- Elyse Knox as Isobel Evans
- Wallace Ford as 'Babe' Hanson
- Dick Foran as Stephen Banning
- George Zucco as Andoheb
Production and release
The Mummy's Tomb was the first of Lon Chaney, Jr.'s three mummy features, begun June 1, 1942, and released October 23, on a double feature with Night Monster. The film was released on October 23, 1942 and later had a re-release in February 1, 1948. Later part of the original Shock Theater package of 52 Universal titles released to television in 1957, followed a year later with Son of Shock, which added 20 more features.
Critical reviews of the film are mostly negative. Some film critics felt the movie failed to live up to the standards of other Universal horror films.
Tim Janson of The SciFi Movie Page gives The Mummy's Tomb 3 1/4 stars. He writes, "Lon Chaney Jr., was a welcome addition as Kharis. He was physically more imposing than Tom Tyler or Boris Karloff". http://www.scifimoviepage.com/review-of-the-mummys-tomb-from-1942/
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