The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb
THE CURSE OF
THE MUMMY’S TOMB (1964)
Starring Terence Morgan
Annette DuBois: Jeanne Roland
Hashmi Bey: George Pastell
Jack Gwillim, John Paul, Dickie Owen
Produced and Directed: Michael Carreras
Associate Producer: Bill Hill
Screenplay: Henry Younger
Make-up: Roy Ashton.
Summary: “Egypt in the year 1900.” Archaeologists Annette Duboisand John Gray await Annette’s father, Professor DuBois, who hasbeen killed and his hand severed. “The only [woman] my fatherwould like would be mummified.” His body is dumped, andEgyptian Hashmi forecasts doom. Their lack of vision will resultin a curse of the tomb.
Crass bald American financial backer AlexanderKing, who invents Turkish Delight and calls people “baby”(in 1900?), will exploit the discovery of the tomb of Ra, themummy, and the curse legend in a road show. Professor Giles resigns. A break-in results in a dead man and a missing list of the contentsof the treasures of Ra.
Aboard ship, John acts like a mummy as a lightjoke in front of Annette. A washed-up Giles is attacked, butJohn knocks the assailant overboard. A Mr. Adam Beecham invitesJohn and Annette to stay with him at Regents Park. Annette blabsthe history: Ramses had twin sons, the intellectual Ra and thesensualist Be. The latter conspired against Ra and had him banishedin the Sahara, where he became king of another tribe of nomads. He earned the sacred medallion with the words of life, whichcould revive the dead. Assassins from Be kill Ra and sever hishand, but leave the medallion. A cat statue oversees this. Themedallion is lost now apparently.
The tomb is opened in preparation for the showings. John says, “I shall soon be as moribund as the mummy,”in the context of a discussion of marriage. Daddy had given Annettea medallion, and it is stolen from John. Hashmi appeals to Kingto stop the exhibitionism, but King refuses. A press conferenceincludes a slide show, dramatic narration about dust cloying innostrils, playing up of the curse, and an opening of the tomb. But the mummy is gone.
King tells the police, “Of course I’vegot enemies; I’m in show business.” When another characterasks if he needs help: “Yeah if you want to wrap yourselfup in some dirty bandages.” John warns King of the legendabout reviving the dead. King leaves for the night, gives a whoresome money, and is killed by the mummy.
Giles is drunk and the mummy kills him too,despite gunshots. John and Hashmi talk and decide to work together,while Annette is sweet-talked by Adam. The mummy swipes Adamand comes up the stairs for Annette. Adam speaks to the mummy,but is not obeyed. The police arrive too late.
John and Hashim plot to be attacked, resultingin the netting of the mummy. But when Hashmi orates a curse uponhimself, the mummy rips the ropes, crushes Hashmi’s head underfoot,and leaves. We all wonder why the mummy attacked Adam.
Adam blabs to Annette about everlasting lifebeing a curse. With her supposedly unwilling help in repeatingphrases, he raises the mummy. Somehow, he and Annette “willbe together” if the mummy kills her. Adam, it turns out,is Be, and must be killed by his brother Ra if he hopes to escapehis grim view of the last three thousand years on earth. He kidnapsAnnette and runs to the sewers, having his hand severed in a doorway. “Life without end is the only pain I cannot bear.” He tells her, “Don’t be afraid of death,” and commandsthe mummy to “Kill her! Kill her!” When Adam/Be himselftries to, Ra drowns his brother. The mummy turns to go, and witha last look back, allows a cave-in to engulf him. The last visionis of his bandaged finger.
Commentary: The brandy-swilling in this film is astounding. Otherwise, it’sinteresting only that “Adam” is “Cain” andthat even though behind this film is an awareness of various subtlerthemes (such as the real curse being eternal life, from Doyle’s”The Ring of Thoth”), the film still fails to find away to integrate them coherently or effectively.