The Mummy (1959)



        Seems I've spent the better part of my life amongst the dead


In Egypt in 1895, a team of archaeologists, including John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer) and his uncle Joseph Whemple, are searching for the tomb of Princess Ananka, the priestess of Karnak. John is held up by an injured leg while his father and uncle open the tomb. Before they enter, an Egyptian man named Mehemet Bey (George Pastell) appears and warns them not to go in, lest they face dire consequences. Stephen and Joseph ignore him, and within find the sarcophogus of Ananka. When Joseph leaves to tell John the good news, Stephen finds the mythical Scroll of Life and reads from it. He then sees something that drives him into a catatonic state. John and Joseph continue excavating the tomb but cannot find the Scroll of Life, little suspecting it is now in the hands of Mehemet Bey.

Three years later in Engerfield, England in 1898, Stephen Banning comes out of his catatonic state at the Engerfield Nursing Home for the Mentally Disordered, and sends for his son. He tells him that when he read from the Scroll of Life, he accidentally brought to life Kharis, the mummified priest of Karnak and the eternal guardian of Princess Ananka's tomb, who was sentenced to eternal living death as punishment for his forbidden love for the princess. Now, Stephen says, Kharis will hunt down and kill all those who desecrated Ananka's tomb. John does not believe his father.

Meanwhile, Mehemet Bey, revealed as a devoted worshipper of Karnak, has come to Engerfield under the alias of Mehemet Akir to track down the Bannings. He hires a pair of drunken carters, Pat and Mike, to bring the slumbering Kharis in a crate to his rented home, but the two men foul up and Kharis' crate ends up falling into a pond. However using the Scroll of Life, Mehmet exhorts Kharis to break free of the crate and rise from the water, then sends him to murder Stephen Banning at the Engerfield Nursing Home. Soon after, Kharis is also sent to murder Joseph Whemple, doing so right before the eyes of John Banning, who shoots Kharis twice at close range with a revolver to no effect.

Scotland Yard Inspector Mulrooney is sent from London to solve the murders, but because he is skeptical and deals only in "cold, hard facts", he refuses to believe John's wild story about a killer mummy, even when John figures out that he is to be Kharis' third and final victim. While Mulrooney attempts to build his investigation by interviewing people who have seen Kharis, including the two carters, John notices that his wife, Isobel Banning, bears an uncanny resemblance to Princess Ananka. Mulrooney meanwhile slowly begins to come to the conclusion that John is right, and that there is indeed a mummy in Engerfield. Together he and John try to figure out who is controlling Kharis.

Mehemet Bey sends the dreaded mummy to the Bannings' home to slay his final victim. However, upon seeing Isobel, Kharis stops his attack on John and leaves. Mehmet mistakenly believes that Kharis has slain John, and is surprised when John turns up alive at his house, suspecting him of being the one controlling the mummy.

After John leaves, Mehmet leads Kharis in a second attempt on John's life. The mummy easily eliminates Mulrooney and another policemen guarding the house and enters the house, where he again chokes John. Alarmed by shots, Isobel appears and again causes Kharis to stop. When Mehmet orders Kharis to kill her, he refuses and kills Mehmet instead. The mummy carries an unconscious Isobel into the swamp, followed by John, Mulrooney and other policemen. John yells to Isobel and when she wakes up she tells Kharis to put her down. The mummy reluctantly obeys and when Isobel has moved away from him, the policemen open fire, causing the mummy to drown in the swamp.










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Directed by Terence Fisher
Produced by Michael Carreras
Written by Jimmy Sangster
Starring Peter Cushing
Christopher Lee
Yvonne Furneaux
Eddie Byrne
George Pastell
Music by  
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 25 September 1959
Running time 89 mins.
Language English