Mummy's Curse, The (Blu-ray) (1944)

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Released 10-May-2017

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1944
Running Time 60:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Leslie Goodwins
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Lon Chaney Jr
Peter Coe
Dennis Moore
Virginia Christine
Kay Harding
Addison Richards
Martin Kosleck


Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Descriptive Audio
French
Spanish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     At the end of The Mummy’s Ghost (1944), Kharis, the Mummy, (Lon Chaney Jr) and his eternal love Princess Ananka evade the pursuing mob and disappear into the swamps of Mapletown, Massachusetts. The Mummy’s Curse, we learn, commences 25 years later, but with the location changed, without explanation, to the swamps of Louisiana. A government programme run by overseer Pat Walsh (Addison Richards) is draining the swamps although the workmen are spooked by legends of the Mummy haunting the area. Jim Halsey (Dennis Moore) and his associate Ilzor Zandab (Peter Coe) arrive from the Scripps Museum with permission to dig for the Mummy and Princess Ananka, but before they can start the outline of a large man revealed in the mud and a workman is murdered.

     We soon learn that Ilzor is, in fact, the latest in the line of High Priests who have kept Kharis alive for 3000 years and he is in America to bring Kharis and Princess Ananka back to their original resting place in Egypt. Ragheb (Martin Kosleck), one of the workman, is secretly working for Ilzor; he has found Kharis and hidden him in a nearby abandoned monastery. The Princess has not been found, but as the swamp drains Ananka (Virginia Christine) emerges from the mud, with no memory of her previous existences. She is found by Cajun Joe (Kurt Katch) and taken to the café of Tante Berthes (an uncredited Ann Codee) but Kharis is quickly sent by Ilzor to get her. Tante Berthes is murdered by Kharis, but Ananka flees to the camp by the swamp of Jim Halsey, Dr Cooper (Holmes Herbert) and Betty Walsh (Kay Harding). But Kharis is again following and more murders occur until the climax in the abandoned monastery.

     The Mummy’s Curse was the fourth, and last before Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy (1955), sequel / spin-off from The Mummy (1932). By this time the mummy as a monster was feeling old hat; the slow shuffling walk was not menacing, his murders, all by strangling, lacked variety and his abduction and walk with the girl in his arms into the woods had been seen before. As well, Lon Chaney Jr was not particularly enamoured of a role that contained no dialogue and no sympathy for the creature. The Mummy’s Curse also suffered some other drawbacks. The plotting throughout was repetitive and there is no mystery; the Mummy is revealed after 10 minutes or so and afterwards the plot has Kharis finding Ananka and killing who was there, Ananka running away from him, Kharis finding her new location, killing who was there, Ananka running away, etc., etc. The other characters, such as the hero and the High Priest, are very similar to others in the earlier sequels, the film lifts scenes from both The Mummy (1932) and The Mummy’s Hand (1940) and, although the film is supposed to be in the late 1990s, again no effort has been made to imagine what the future may be like as the cars and costumes are all 1940s.

     There are some things however that redeem The Mummy’s Curse. Director Leslie Goodwin and cinematographer Virgil Miller, who was nominated for an Oscar for Navajo (1952), by adroit use of shadows, such as when Kharis strangles a victim, are able to bring an atmosphere and tension to some scenes that was missing in the earlier sequels and they also deliver one of the best sequences in any of the mummy films as Princess Ananka emerges gradually from the mud. Indeed, Virginia Christine, who went on to have a long career with 167 credits listed on the IMDb, is the best thing in the film although, having spent 25 years in the mud and having been aged and with white hair at the end of The Mummy’s Ghost, it is amazing how a quick wash in the swamp will not only remove the mud but give her perfectly groomed dark hair and make-up. But I guess this is a film after all, and this is no less imponderable that having a person walk into a swamp in Massachusetts and emerge 25 years later in Louisiana.

     The Mummy’s Curse requires a complete suspension of belief. By this fourth sequel the impetus in the franchise was running out and this would be the last Universal Mummy film until Abbott and Costello provided their own brand of mummy mayhem eleven years later. And yet the shadows, atmosphere and that scene of Virginia Christine emerging from the help mud make The Mummy’s Curse well worth a look by fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Mummy’s Curse is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The Mummy’s Curse looks great for a 70 year old film that is hardly a high profile title. It has been restored and blacks, greyscale and shadow detail are good, the close-ups clean. There is controlled grain but this is a nice clean print without obvious marks or artefacts.

     Large white subtitles are available in English for the hearing impaired, French, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 (mono).

     Dialogue was easy to understand. The effects in this film sound better than most of the other Mummy titles; the shuffling gait of Kharis, the shots, the music and the destruction at the climax are nicely rendered. There is no credit for the score although it apparently was provided by William Lava and Paul Sawtell. There is obviously no surround or subwoofer use.

     I did not notice any hiss or distortion.

     Lip synchronisation was pretty good with only occasional lapses.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailer (1:06)

     On start-up you are asked to select The Mummy’s Ghost or The Mummy’s Curse to watch. The selected film commences without a further menu, but you can use the pop-up menu via the remote to select chapters, subtitles and the film’s unrestored trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This Blu-ray release of The Mummy’s Curse starts with the US FBI antipiracy warning. The same double bill of The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse appears to have also been released in the US and UK. The Mummy Complete Legacy Collection (see the summary below) is also available in other regions.

Summary

     By this time they made The Mummy’s Curse Universal’s mummy franchise was running out of steam and yet that wonderful sequence of Virginia Christine emerging from the mud, plus some nice atmosphere, makes The Mummy’s Curse worth watching.

     The film looks good on Blu-ray, the audio is the original mono. A trailer is the only extra, although you get The Mummy’s Ghost on the same Blu-ray.

     The Mummy’s Curse is available as a stand-alone single Blu-ray paired with The Mummy’s Ghost (1940) but it is also included in Universals’ 4 disc The Mummy Complete Legacy Collection which also has The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse on one Blu-ray, The Mummy’s Hand and The Mummy’s Tomb on another and The Mummy (1932) and Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy on single Blu-rays.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 05, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 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 DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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