TV & Film
#73 - The Mummy's Hand (1940)
Troy and I return with the fourth entry in our 1940's Universal Horror series! With this episode we are really getting into the (gauze wrapped) meat of the matter with the first of the decade's four mummy films. THE MUMMY'S HAND is usually considered the best of the quartet for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is a combination of Indiana Jones style adventure tale mixed with a truly dangerous monster. We have two American archeological explorers as heroes and they are matched by a pair of formidable bad guys - a high priest and an undead golem. Along for the desert trip is the great character actor Cecil Kelloway and the lovely Peggy Moran as a father-daughter team of expedition investing stage magicians. The film also marks the first of George Zucco's iconic B-horror movie villain performances and he is simply fantastic! Indeed, he is so awesome I give up trying to call him by his character's screen name early on and simply refer to him as Zucco the whole time!
My trepidation about Troy's lack of love for Mummy films come to little here as we both enjoy this Egyptian romp. I guess he can occasionally be reasonable about the shambling 3000 year old throat crusher! We dig into the story with an eye toward the film's place in the Universal pantheon while I complain about some of the attempts to soften the narrative. We speculate a bit about the intended audience both before shooting and in the editing process. Some of the more important deleted scenes are discussed as we wonder about the reasons some juicy sequences might have been left on the cutting room floor - never to be seen! Author Thomas Feramisco's excellent book The Mummy Unwrapped is an invaluable resource for fans of these films and comes highly recommended. We also look toward the sequels of this fun film curious about how they will stack up as we slowly cover them all.
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