The Mummy's Hand (1940)

DVD Cover (Universal)
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Overall Rating 60%
Overall Rating
Ranked #5,647
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Connections: The Mummy

A couple of comical, out-of-work archaeologists in Egypt discover evidence of the burial place of the ancient Egyptian princess Ananka. After receiving funding from an eccentric magician and his beautiful daughter, they set out into the desert only to be terrorized by a sinister high priest and the living mummy Kharis who are the guardians of Ananka's tomb. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: April 14, 2017
While 1932's The Mummy was well received by critics, its slow-burn, magic-based affair was very different from the rest of its horror catalog. When they released this sequel eight years later, they shifted gears into more familiar territory.

Americans Steve Banning and Babe Jenson's Egyptian archaeological expedition sure has had some rotten luck. With cash running low and Babe begging to return to Brooklyn, Steve may have just gotten a break. He's found a vase in a bazaar featuring hieroglyphics pointing to a forgotten tomb in the Hill of the Seven Jackals. Even with this new goal, he still needs to find a means to finance the trip. Enter The Great Slovani, the "world's greatest magician". After the two Brooklyn boys pique his interest with talk of long-lost treasure, he throws down the coin to get the expedition under way much to the chagrin of his daughter, Marta. Still, the contract has been signed and the money has been spent, so she decides she's at least going to join them to make sure the pair don't try and fraud her father. However, when they get there, instead of a princess' tomb full of riches, they find a barren cave with nothing but a mummy. A mummy that an ancient religious sect has been keeping alive as a deadly guardian.

As you can see, this really isn't much of a sequel in any sense of the word and I've got mixed feelings about that. Sure, Universal didn't handle their magical antagonist as efficiently as I'd have liked, but there's certainly potential going down that route. Instead, they opted to scrap it altogether in favor of a more physical villain. I would much rather they improved on the approach instead of just starting over. With that said, they definitely have experience with large lumbering monsters, and I can't deny that I had a lot of fun with it. Sure, we've seen it plenty of times before, but it's a simple formula and makes for an easy monster movie. Not only that, but he looked amazing. The facial prosthetics are exactly what I felt they should have done with Boris Karloff's character in the last movie, albeit with a lighter complexion.

The actors not wrapped in gauze were also a huge factor of why I enjoyed this so much. Now, leading the group was Dick Foran as Steve Banning, the dedicated archaeologist pursuing this tomb in the name of science. He didn't earn any complaints, but it was the secondary level where the cast truly shined. For starters, Peggy Moran definitely raised the bar as Marta Solvani. She's not just a love interest or a victim, but a fully fleshed out character in her own right. A character that doesn't think twice about taking matters into her own hands, and Moran provided plenty of confidence to make it work. Finally, there's Wallace Ford and Cecil Kellaway who handled Babe and Solvani respectively. These two have charisma for days and the chemistry between them took the characters to a new level. I always appreciate when a movie gives us comedic relief that aren't blithering idiots.

Even though The Mummy's Hand reverted to a more standard monster fare, there's no denying that Universal is good at it. Apparently this is the route they've gone for the next three sequels. I'm pretty OK with that. 7/10.
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