Cinema Sunday: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)
Title: The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
Distributor: Hammer Studios/Columbia Pictures
Writer: Michael Carreras
Director: Michael Carreras
Producer: Michael Carreras
Starring: Terence Morgan, Ronald Howard, Fred Clark, Jeanne Roland, Michael Ripper
Released: October 1964
After reviewing the first installment of the “Mummy” series from Hammer Studios, I thought it would be prudent to check out the next in the series as well! This film is pretty good, but not quite up to the standards of the first. It does however feature someone getting their arm ripped off, and a curb-stomp, so it will always have a place in my heart.
You don’t get the typical cast of Hammer regulars, but, you do get Michael Ripper! This dude is amazing, and even though he plays a small roll in this film, just seeing him on-screen is reassuring. You’ll notice in the credits, that Michael Carreras is running the show from top to bottom, so if you don’t like the film, blame him, I guess. A beautiful woman, artifacts from Egypt, and a really ticked off Mummy! Without further delay, here’s the plot!
The film opens in the year 1900, and we see that some bandits have a man captured (Professor Eugene Dubois, played by Bernard Rebel), and they first stab him in the gut, then cut off his left hand! A few miles away, at a base camp for some Egyptology/explorer types, John Bray (Ronald Howard), is trying to ease the worries of Annette Dubois (Jeanne Roland), the daughter of the man we just saw executed. Her father is overdue, and they soon find out why. The two share a moment of horny-ness, but then Sir Giles Dalrymple (Jack Gwillim) bursts in and informs them that her father is dead. A couple of the slave workers get out of line, and Bray pimp slaps one of them for his actions. After he does, one of them (George Pastell), informs him that for desecrating the tombs of the dead, they’ll pay with their lives!
No one seems to heed the ominous warning, and the relics are then packed up for transportation back to the U.K., for exhibition. Before that can happen though, the man, Alexander King (Fred Clark) responsible for all the financial backing arrives, and informs them that he’s taking the relics on a whirlwind tour, showing it off to the world. Sir Giles vehemently disagrees with this, and quits the job because he believes it is sacrilege. King then tells Bray and Annette and both of them are shocked to hear this news, but agree to join King on his “tour.” They have dinner with King, but it’s interrupted by a servant that tells them that Sir Giles requests their presence immediately. They arrive at the storage area, and find that the area has been ransacked, but nothing stolen other than the list of contents. They do find one of the servants dead (Michael Ripper – image above), and everyone looks at the mummy case nearby.
As the scene switches to another day, all are aboard a ship, setting sail for Europe. Sir Giles is still upset about the way things ended, but Annette and Bray seem to be OK with everything as they make out near a bannister. As Sir Giles heads into his cabin, he cries out, and Bray runs in to see what’s going on. Sir Giles was attacked, and the man responsible is till there, and he knocks him out as well. As the criminal tries to escape, he runs right into another man, Adam Beauchamp (Terence Morgan). Beauchamp beats the crap out of him, then tosses him overboard. He then quickly begins to slyly get on the good side of Annette (who was knocked over in the fracas). Bray is suspicious of him, but doesn’t object to his forwardness because Annette seems to like him. He convinces them to stay at his house when they get to England, and we can slowly see his intentions are not genuine.
As the show is getting ready to open, Annette and the rest of the crew check out some of the relics. One shows a picture of ancient times, and Annette translates it for everyone. We then get a flashback (just like the one in the first film), and it shows a terrible betrayal centuries ago, and how the Egyptian priest named Ra, was killed by his brother’s minions. Beauchamp gets snappy with Annette about a relic that wasn’t found, but then the mummy is unveiled, and everyone gets a chill down their spine. Back at Beauchamp’s house, he continues to wine and dine Annette. She seems to be more and more receptive to it as time passes, and Beauchamp looks more and more like a snake. Bray walks in and gets the feeling the other two wished he wouldn’t have. He gets the drift, and after Beauchamp shows him an old relic, he agrees to have Sir Giles look at it for further examination and clarification (basically, Beauchamp wanted to keep Bray away from Annette).
Over at Sir Giles house, Bray insults Giles (who’s visibly drunk), and Giles then goes to bed for the evening. Bray stays up and uses Giles extensive library and materials to check out the relic. Someone creeps into the room silently, and steals the relic (after hitting him on the head). The next evening, King is ready to unveil his show t some guests and the press. Beauchamp is there with Annette, and even Sir Giles, but Bray is not there, because he’s recovering from the attack. As King narrates the story of their expedition, he finally gets to the end, and the coffin is opened. There’s only one problem…the mummy is missing. King is livid, and of course, thinks that someone has stolen it. He calls the police, but they offer little in finding the mummy.
As King is walking home, he gives a hooker a couple of bucks, then he sees another trick, or so he thinks. Amongst the fog, he sees a shape, and that is the shape of the mummy. He believes it to be a joke, but before he can even react, the mummy grabs him by the throat, picks him up off of the ground, chokes him, then tosses him down three flights of stairs, killing him. Over at Sir Giles home, one of the servants is begging him to eat some supper, but he refuses. As she leaves, Giles hears a rustling at the doors leading to the back yard. As he looks, the doors are smashed open by the mummy, who enters, with death in his eyes. Giles shoots the creature, but it has no effect. The mummy throttles him, and then bashes his head in with a marble statue.
Across town, Beauchamp has finally convinced Annette that he’s the man for her, so she writes a “Dear John” letter for Bray, and then she heads to her room. She hears a noise, and comes to the hallway. She sees the mummy choking Beauchamp, and screams. Her scream startles the mummy, and he turns to check her out. She faints, and then Beauchamp recites some Egyptian phrase, and the mummy comes to him, as if commanded. He still slaps him down, and then leaves. Bray and the police show up, because apparently he’s figured out that the mummy is the one doing the killing. They set a trap for him, and wait. When he arrives at Bray’s abode, and tries to kill him, the police throw a net on him, and almost capture him. The Egyptian guy that has hung around begs them to stop, and bows down before the mummy. He speaks to him, but the mummy isn’t impressed. It breaks free, and curb stomps the guy for his troubles.
I’m going to stop there, because I don’t want to give away anymore of the film. Let me just say that the ending is pretty cool (a bit of a twist), and involves someone losing a limb, and a bloody scene underground, where a mummy feels right at home!
OK, here are my thoughts:
Listen this flick doesn’t have a really strong lead like Cushing, but the sum of all the parts still make an interesting film that can carry your attention. Beauchamp is very sleazy, and you really can’t wait to see him get what’s coming to him. Howard, Clark, and Gwillim all do a solid job, but nothing Earth shattering. Jeanne Roland is pretty underwhelming, but easy on the eyes.
The sets are very good, and the mummy make-up looks pretty awesome. The film is certainly inferior to the 1959 flick, but this one definitely deserves a watch. I also thought that the music score was great as well. It did a nice job of sending an ominous message when needed, and thundering in when the moment was at the ‘crescendo’ (see what I did there). George Pastell was another nice touch, as he is a Hammer staple for films like this one. He always delivers a solid performance in these type of roles. Seek out a cheap copy in a bog box store or online, and settle in for a night at the mummy…I mean movies!