AS IF TO extend his acting prowess, Boris Karloff strides back onto the screen to establish himself as far more than the man of many monsters.
He had already made a name for himself as The Monster in Frankenstein, and Morgan in The Old Dark House, and true he would don the bandages to perform another iconic monster, but in The Mummy, he is able to deliver not one, but two characters in Imhotep and Ardath Bey.
The story of Imhotep has been used time and time again, but arguably no one has conveyed the heartache and desperation than Karloff’s performance back in 1932.
It is with Ardeth Bey though, that Karloff really shines and show off his acting muscles.
With each scene Karloff oozes cunning and devilry whilst weaving his way through every moment with the right amount of gravitas, capturing his sinister and evil plans throughout.
Universal may not have realised the true potential that Karloff could deliver up until this moment, and from here-on in, his career in Hollywood was well and truly established.
You only need to check out his filmography to see just how much he brought to the horror movie genre.
The Mummy isn’t simply a one-man show though, Karloff id ably supported by Zita Johann who plays Helen Grosvenor, the reincarnated Ankh-es-en-amon; and David Manners, and Arthur Byron as the father and son Whemples.
As does Edward Van Sloan playing the voice of wisdom in Doctor Muller, and once more provides the knowledge needed to vanquish their foes in a similar fashion to his Van Helsing (Dracula) and Doctor Waldman (Frankenstein).
Stepping into the Director’s chair this time around would be Karl Freund, a man born in a region that is now part of the Czech. Republic.
The Mummy was and probably will be the sole film that Freund would be known for as a director, but as a cinematographer, he provided some stunning visuals with movies such as, The Golem, Metropolis, Dracula, and Key Largo, to name but a few.
He also picked up an Academy Award for Best Cinematography with The Good Earth.
Ultimately though, The Mummy is a solid enough film and would help solidify the winning formula that had reaped such success for Universal in their golden era with plenty more successes along the way.
- Paul Farrell