The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964) Michael Carreras
Produced and directed by Michael Carreras
Screenplay by Michael Carreras, Alvin Rakoff
Cinematography by Otto Heller
Edited by Eric Boyd-Perkins
Music by Carlo Martelli
Hammer Films Productions, Swallow Productions
Distributed by British Lion-Columbia
(1:19) Hammer Films: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray box set, Mill Creek
I am covering these films not in chronological order, but rather by their appearance in the box set. Previously I covered The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958).
Here it is again in case you missed it in the 20 or so mummy movies that came before this one: Don’t mess around with the tombs of Egyptian royalty. Bad things happen. In 1900, three Egyptologists discover the mummy of Ra-Antef, son of Ramesses VIII.
The financial backer of the project (Fred Clark, one of my favorite character actors) wants to forego the museum route in favor of the big money: displaying the mummy on a roadshow tour. Shenanigans ensue, as well as a love interest between Annette (Jeanne Roland), the daughter of an Egyptologist, and a wealthy patron of the arts (Terence Morgan) interested in both Egyptology and Annette.
The film’s biggest problem is that it doesn’t star either Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee. Not every Hammer film could, of course, but it least director/producer/writer Michael Carreras (son of studio head James Carreras) knew how to make interesting pictures without big budgets or major stars. Yet Carreras understood that a master cinematographer like Otto Heller (The Ladykillers, Peeping Tom) can make your picture look like a million bucks, even if you only have a fraction of that to work with. Fred Clark is good as the slimy American showman, and Hammer has made a pretty good attempt at art direction. The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb was often shown as the second half of a double feature with The Gorgon (1964). You could do a lot worse.
If you’re really into this film, I’d recommend picking up the Indicator Blu-ray (especially if you missed the Hammer Volume One: Fear Warning! box set, now OOP) which contains several extras detailed here. As for me, I’m content to stick with the edition featured in the Mill Creek set, which actually looks and sounds quite good.
Next: These Are the Damned (1961)