Reaping off the success brought to Universal movies, Son of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man Returns, the production company would expand the universe further with another of their Monsters, The Mummy.
A fair amount of The Mummy’s Hand lifts footage from its predecessor in its exposition as a dying High Priest recounts the tale of Kharis and his beloved Princess Ananka to his protege, Andoheb. Importantly comes the warning that if things prove dire, a vial from tana leaves can be used to restore movement to the monster.
Enter archaeologist Steve Banning (Dick Ford) and his sidekick Babe Jensen (Wallace Ford), a foreshadow of Universal’s direction towards the end of the decade and their collaboration with comedians Abbott and Costello, such is the comic banter between the two protagonists.
Banning believes that he has found an ancient Egyptian artefact leading to the last resting place of Princess Ananka, so with the help of the Museum specialist, Dr. Petrie, they seek confirmation from the local Professor of its authenticity. Unfortunately, said Professor is none other than Andoheb, who spies a threat from the intrepid trio and quickly tries to put them off the scent and keep the location hidden.
Banning however is intent on proving that he is right and finds financial backing in magician, The Great Solvani, who comes accompanied by his daughter Marta (Peggy Moran). Marta brings the feisty female characters synonymous with the films at the time serving both strong-headed, moralistic views that challenge the main (male lead) and ultimately the love interest.
Once the expedition is underway, we fall into typical territory as an embittered Andoheb is hellbent on protecting the tomb and resurrects Kharis (played this time by Tom Tyler, picking up the baton from Boris Karloff) in the process. From here, we see the bandaged menace wreaks havoc on the members of the quest, striking down and killing those who stand in his way. A few familiar traits appear, which at the time would have felt original but now have become commonplace, for example the monster falling for the token female which requires the lead protagonist to save her from certain doom.
Kharis would appear a further four times throughout the 40s, three of those times with Lon Chaney Jr in the role, proving that there was a valid interest in the tale of hidden treasures and unrequited love, and although it became fairly formulaic towards the end, the humour embedded throughout the venture actually makes this instalment an enjoyable, still to this day.
- Saul Muerte