Mummy's Shroud, The (Blu-ray) (1967)
Featurette-Making Of-The Beat Goes On (22:04)
Featurette-Remembering David Buck (5:40)
Trailer-Hammer Trailers including The Mummy's Shroud
|Year Of Production||1967|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John Gilling|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 1.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.66:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.66:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Mummy’s Shroud starts with an eight minute precredit sequence; in a palace revolt in Egypt 2,000 BC the Pharaoh’s brother kills the Pharaoh and usurps the throne. The Pharaoh’s young son is spirited away into the desert by Prem, a faithful servant, but when the boy dies Prem places him in a secret tomb. The film, after the credits, then moves forward to 1920; an expedition led by Sir Basil Walden (Andre Morell) is looking for the boy Pharaoh’s tomb but they have been abandoned by their porters and are lost in a sandstorm. Other than Sir Basil, the remaining members of the expedition are his assistant Claire (Maggie Kimberley), photographer Harry (Tim Barrett) and Paul Preston (David Buck), the son of Stanley Preston (John Phillips), the wealthy industrialist who financed the expedition. Nevertheless, the party believe that they are very close to finding the tomb.
When the expedition was reported lost, Stanley Preston, an arrogant, overbearing bully, and his wife Barbara (Elizabeth Sellars) came to Egypt to organise a rescue party, although another motive is that Stanley wants to take the credit for any major find. Reluctantly, Stanley is pressed into joining a rescue party himself and, as it happens, they arrive at the expedition’s camp just as Sir Basil has discovered the tomb and the tomb’s deranged guardian Hasmid (Roger Delgado), who predicts a nasty end to anyone who desecrates the grave. Of course, the warning goes unheeded, and the boy’s mummy, covered by a shroud on which are hieroglyphs that Claire is too horrified to translate, is exhumed and taken back to Sir Basil’s research facility in the city.
Already in the facility is the mummy of Prem. Hasmid is able to steal the shroud found with the boy Pharaoh. With the help of the clairvoyant Haiti (Catherine Lacey) and the shroud Hasmid is able to invoke the spell which brings Prem’s mummy to life to exact revenge upon those who had desecrated his master’s tomb. As the body count increases, can the surviving members find a way to stop the rampage of the vengeful monster?
To kick off their Mummy franchise in 1959 Hammer put together a decent budget, go to director Terence Fisher and major Hammer stars Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. None of them were involved in the underwhelming sequel The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb in 1964 and for this third mummy film Hammer turned to writer / director John Gilling, who had just finished The Plague of the Zombies and The Reptile (both 1966).
The Mummy’s Shroud is very much an ensemble piece with, except for Morell, none of the main Hammer stars although familiar Hammer players, such as Michael Ripper, who usually played landlords or policemen, gets a lot more to do this time, and very effectively, as a sycophantic toady to Stanley Preston. Other roles are done less well, especially Maggie Kimberley, who is not convincing, although Catherine Lacey, as the clairvoyant Haiti, gives a delightful, cackling over the top performance. The sets, especially ancient Egyptian and the desert are cheap looking, the exception being the wonderfully detailed den of Haiti. The score for The Mummy’s Shroud was composed by Australian born Don Banks, who did a handful of impressive scores for Hammer including Nightmare (1964), Hysteria (1965) and, indeed, The Reptile with Gilling. His music for The Mummy’s Shroud is a highlight of the film, avoiding stock sounding Egypt themes for something altogether more complex, such as the memorable opening music, used as a theme throughout the film.
Gilling tries hard in The Mummy’s Shroud to inject some tension into what is essentially a film about a man in a suit lumbering around killing people. For example, in most of the murders the mummy is not seen clearly but reflected in fluid, a crystal ball or blurred when a character has broken his glasses. Unlike most Mummy films, this is not about a Mummy searching for a lost love, which dilutes any love interest or compassion for the monster! The result is a competent film although it is nothing special; it added to Gilling’s fractious relation with the Hammer executives and The Mummy’s Shroud was his last film for Hammer, a film that Gilling had no time for, considering it one of his worst films. I think he was being a bit hard on himself as the climax is well staged and the dissolving of the Mummy into sand and bone an effective special effect in the days before CGI that still stands up very well.
The Mummy’s Shroud is presented in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.
The print is pretty good for a 50 year old film. Exteriors, especially in the desert and establishing shots, look soft although close-ups of faces are nicely detailed. Colours are natural, although not vibrant, the exception being the wonderful deep reds in Haiti’s den. Blacks are solid and shadow detail good, while skin tones varied from very light to very ruddy. Grain is nicely controlled; there are occasional small marks.
White English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available.
Audio is an English Dolby Digital 1.0 at 448 Kbps; the film was shown theatrically with mono sound.
Dialogue was easy to understand. While this is a lossy mono audio, effects such the wind were decent enough. The excellent score by Don Banks also comes across nicely.
There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use.
I did not notice any hiss or distortion.
Lip synchronisation looked fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
Made in 2012 this is a good featurette using film footage, still photographs and recent interviews with authors Jonathan Rigby (Studies in Terror: Landmarks of Horror Cinema), Denis Meikle (A History of Horror), and David Huckvale (Ancient Egypt in the Popular Imagination) plus John Johnston (Vice-chair: The Egypt Exploration Society). They discuss the film’s use of ancient Egyptian myth and the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun, the strength of the ensemble cast, the score and director John Gilling. Informative and interesting.
Actress Madeline Smith, who appeared in three Hammer films, remembers with affection actor David Buck to whom she was married when he died of cancer in 1989.
Approximately 120 black and white and colour posters, film promotions, film stills and on set photographs. Advance automatically, with music, film dialogue and effects.
My set up had problems with the Blu-ray authoring of the trailers menu. First The Devil Rides Out trailer is on a loop and repeats while after The Mummy’s Shroud trailer the Blu-ray returns to the front menu screen but the options are not shown. I had to hit “Home” on my remote to get out.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is no Region A US Blu-ray of The Mummy’s Shroud listed. Our release is the same as the Region B UK except that gets a lossless LPCM 1.0 audio.
Without a love interest and sets not up to Hammer’s usual standards, writer / director John Gilling and an ensemble cast struggle to make any advance to the Mummy monster genre. While the climax is impressive and the film does have its moments, The Mummy’s Shroud is lesser Hammer which marked the end of director Gilling’s association with the company.
The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. The extras are decent and well worth a look.
The Mummy’s Shroud is available as a stand-alone Blu-ray / DVD release from Shock Entertainment but it is also included in Shock’s 17 disc Hammer Horror Blu-ray Collection. The specifications and extras on both releases are the same. Good value for Hammer fans!
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|