Michael Delahoyde, PhD

Professor of English

The Mummy’s Ghost

THE MUMMY’S GHOST

(1944)


Notes: Universal. 61 minutes.
Kharis, The Mummy: Lon Chaney, Jr.
Yousef Bey: John Carradine
Amina Mansori: Ramsay Ames
Inspector Walgreen: Barton MacLane
Andoheb: George Zucco
Tom Hervey: Robert Lowery
Professor Norman: Frank Reicher

Screenplay: Griffin Jay, Henry Sucher, Brenda Weisberg
Story: Griffin Jay, Henry Sucher
Associate Producer: Ben Pivar
Directed: Reginald LeBorg.


Summary: Scenes of the Sphinx and Luxor are followed by a clip of the young George Zucco ascending the temple steps (from The Mummy’s Hand). This is supposed to be Yousef Bey (John Carradine), though, who listens to the story we have heard repeatedly about Kharis and Princess Ananka, now called a priestess initiate of Arkhan (“They dared to love each other”), from old and palsied Andoheb (George Zucco, alive yet again). At least we don’t have to watch the recycled clips this time. Kharis reportedly still lives to guard Ananka’s tomb, although there was that unfortunate incident involving the fiery annihilation of Kharis at the Banning house “30 years ago”! It will be Yousef’s mission to bringthem both back to Egypt.

The Ananka blab is continued by Professor Norman in a class lecture. He tells of the Mapleton incidents from TheMummy’s Tomb, which one of the rather aged-looking studentsdismisses as having been caused by “a man made up as a mummy,to keep the legend alive.” But the Professor is an eyewitnessand knows a little about tana leaves. When the bell rings, hepromises Egyptian history next time, vs. “the more luridand non-curricular subject of living mummies.”

Tom’s rather disinterested but jittery girlfriendis Amina, who is part Egyptian and is reading The Tombs ofAncient Egypt. “Something happens to me when I thinkof Egypt”; she gets tired and troubled.

Back to the priests of Arkhan under the cycleof the moon: “Now swear by the ancient gods of Egypt thatyou will never rest until the Princess Ananka and Kharis havebeen returned to their rightful resting places in these tombs.”After the obligatory recipe initiation, Yousef Bey heads to Americato retrieve Kharis and the inanimate mummy of Ananka.

Professor Norman, having discovered an “elusivehieroglyphic” specifying the number nine in reference totana leaves, is working late despite his wife’s protestationsthat he should come to bed. “That’s my salvation, Ella: thefact that you’re not a scientist and that it is too much for you.”The Professor cooks the leaves, and the mummy bursts through arail fence, following the scent of the tana brew. We never getan explanation as to his surviving the fire in the last film.The mummy’s shadow passes over Amina and she sleepwalks. The mummykills the Professor, slurps up the tana soup, and leaves the characteristicmold. Amina sees the mummy leaving and faints outside. “Ibegged [him] to come to bed last night,” wails Mrs. Normanto the investigators the next day. Amina has been found collapsednear the scene with a new white streak in her hair. Mapleton isin a tizzy and headlines read “Egyptian Girl Liked to MysteryKilling.” She’s warned by the sheriff not to leave town.

Yousef stews. Amina is parking with Tom, butfeels cold when he’s sucking on her neck, so he takes her home.The mummy is wandering about, upsetting dogs (especially “oldKing”), killing gun-toting farmer Ben Evans, and bustingthrough barn walls.

At the Scripps Museum and the tomb of Ananka,Yousef laments that the priests are “powerless now to preventthe gaze of heretics resting upon her.” He hides until afterhours. Kharis shows up, and when he lovingly approaches Ananka’smummy, Amina at home screams, and Ananka turns to dust: “hersoul has entered another form.” But Kharis goes berserk,breaks things, and kills a watchman. Amina reports afterwards,”I could feel his hands, touching me.”

Inspector Walgreen (the guy who played InspectorHenderson in the Superman tv series) tries reconstructingthe crime in the Noman home, burning tana and digging a 10-footpit for the mummy, which never works out. Tom keeps wanting togo to New York, and Amina is rather icy about the prospect ofmarriage to this doof. Bey prays for guidance, and a mysticallight takes Kharis to a sleepwalking Amina. Peanuts the dog leadsTom in pursuit, and a mob has formed too now, proceeding to ashack where Yousef now has Amina, with more white hair, tied down.He claims she’s the reincarnation of Ananka “as she was centuriesago.” Amina declares, “You’re mad,” but she doeshave a birthmark on her hand. Yousef must decide, in this “hourof temptation,” whether “to consign this lovely girlto death again,” that is, to inject her with tana fluid forKharis, or listen to his inner voice: “What of your destinyas a man?” Her hair is now white. Yousef prays to Isis. Ifhe proceeds correctly, he’ll “keep her young and beautifulforever…. No more to fear: no death, no decay.” He decidesthey won’t return to Egypt. Kharis is shocked! He kills Yousef.Tom and his stick fail in their assault and the mummy takes anunconscious Amina out of the shack. Peanuts leads the mob towardsthe escaping Kharis, carrying Amina who is now wrinkled. Theywalk into a bog, and Tom is warned, “You can’t go in thatswamp. It’s certain death.” An aged and unconscious Aminais carried under, into the muck, by the mummy.

Overvoice: “The fate of those who defythe will of the ancient gods shall be a cruel and violent death.”[But she didn’t.]


Commentary: What a mess! This one wasn’t thought through very carefully, as exemplified by the pointless pit-digging in front of Professor Norman’s doorway, one hastily and poorly incorporated scene from a previous mummy film, Amina’s lack of consciousness for most of the film, and the general pointlessness of it all. The film has nothing to do with Egypt and not much to do with anything else. I am at a loss as to how to comment. Ah! The bog is real, so that’s truly disgusting muck. But mummies should be associated with dryness and dust!

For a very enthusiastic reading of these ’40s mummy films plus lost scenes from the scripts, see Thomas M. Feramisco, The Mummy Unwrapped: Scenes Left on Universal’s Cutting Room Floor (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., Inc., Pub., 2003).


Mummy Films
Mummies