An Egyptian pharaoh loses his queen in childbirth, but gains
a longed-for successor to the throne. Devoted to the child,
Kah-to-Bey, he nurtures him toward manhood. However, the pharaoh's
younger brother plots against the throne, raising a secret
army which then attacks the palace. Although the pharaoh is
brutally killed, Kah-to-Bey is saved by his sacred protector.
Along with a group of slaves they escape across the desert
(which looks surprisingly like a London quarry). The boy falls
fatally ill, and the slaves drop like flies through exhaustion
and lack of sustenance. Finally, the guardian lays the boy
to 1920, and an expedition financed by wealthy industrialist
Stanley Preston and led by archaeologist Sir Basil Walden
to find the lost tomb of Kah-to-Bey. When the expedition becomes
lost in the same quarry, Preston is persuaded to embark on
a search for them. Walden and his party set up camp to await
the passing of a sandstorm. They have run out of water and
debate turning back; but the storm uncovers the entrance to
the tomb, and Preston catches up with them, so they investigate
the tomb together. A modern day guardian of the tomb appears
and threatens them. Undeterred, they uncover the boy's bones
and the shroud which covers them, returning to the city with
the remains and placing them alongside the already uncovered
upright mummy of the original guardian. Much to the disgust
of the others, Preston takes all the credit for the find,
but becomes increasingly less sure of himself when those who
entered the tomb begin to die.
Although this example of Hammer horror is played straight,
it comes across as quite quirky. There's nothing wrong with
that, because it puts a smile on your face rather than making
you groan at its shortfalls. It's great to see Doctor Who's
the Master, Roger Delgado, as Hamid the modern day guardian
of the tomb. The man may have been as benevolent as a daisy-chain,
but on camera he exudes evil. Having said that, in this instance
he does ham-it-up a little, skulking in doorways and mumbling
fluent gibberish. I began to think he'd been drinking the
stereotypical crone fortune teller is also fun, and so it's
no surprise to discover they are working together. When Walden
is set-up by Preston and committed to a sanatorium, he promptly
escapes, only to be offered sanctuary by the crone. Walden
says, "Please help me! Let me rest." The fortune teller replies,
"Soon you will be dead. Then you can rest." Priceless dialogue.
Hasmid utters his gobbledegook and the mummy-guardian of Kah-to-Bey
walks in and throttles the poor bloke.
There's no Frankenstein's monster-like staggering here; the
mummy walks remarkably well for someone who's been standing
still for 4,000 years. I'll bet David Blaine couldn't do that
one; lying in a box for a month? Pah! That's nothing.
are a couple of nice touches regarding the mummy. The close-up
of the cold blue eyes opening for the first time is effective,
as is its disintegration at the conclusion. The mummy's own
hands crumble the rest of its body like dry plaster, although
the camera lingering too long finally reveals that the hands
are reaching up through a hole in the floor. Sir Basil Walden
suffers rather less than divine retribution for his selfishness,
and the hieroglyphics on the shroud reveal the words of death,
as well as animation.
in all, an average but still enjoyable Hammer outing.
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