The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

Mummy Monday continues! Imhotep is dead, long live Kharis! This version of the Mummy is, outside of Boris Karloff staring into your soul as Ardath Bey, what most people picture when they think of the iconic monster: wrapped in bandages the whole time and shambling slower than a zombie. Seriously, if it wasn’t for the element of surprise and his enhanced strength, this mummy wouldn’t be that much of a threat, but I digress.

The movie starts off with an exposition dump–I mean, flashback–telling the origin of this new mummy. And it’s… almost exactly the same as the last mummy: his love died, he tried to bring her back, the gods took offense, and he was punished by being mummified and buried alive. Hell, at points they just reused footage from the original movie. The main difference here is that instead of the Scroll of Thoth, the method of resurrection is Tana leaves; 3 brewed into a potion keeps Kharis alive (undead?), 9 will wake him up enough that he can be used as a weapon to defend the tomb, and any more than that will turn him into some kind of unstoppable monster. The plot starts to take shape.

Our protagonists are a mixed bag this time, consisting of Handsome but Bland (Steve), Annoying Comedic Sidekick (Babe), Annoying Comedic Sidekick 2: This Time He’s a Magician (Mr. Solvani), and Marta, the no-nonsense daughter of Magician who is by far the best character. Just a shame that she was basically contractually obligated to fall in love with Handsome and Bland before the movie was over.

Bland and Sidekick 1 trick Sidekick 2 into going on an expedition to a tomb that… does this really count as “tricking him” since the tomb existed? I mean, they were only mostly sure it did exist (mostly because the sinister head cultist, Andoheb, lied and said it didn’t), but it wasn’t a scam to steal his money and kill him like Marta thought (again, because Andoheb told her that scam sometimes happens). The team goes out and uncovers Kharis’ tomb instead of the Princess Ananka’s. Annoyed that these meddlesome fools have gotten this far, Andoheb awakens Kharis, and the murder of a couple minor characters by the Mummy begins. Eventually Kharis captures Marta so Andoheb can have a short villain monologue, Sidekick 1 kills Andoheb, Bland rescues Marta, and the Mummy is set on fire before he can get all the Tana leaves, apparently killing him. The day is saved, and all under an hour and 10 minutes.

The mummified Kharis looks great in this. For many of the shots his eyes and mouth are blacked out, giving him a wonderfully unsettling look. A couple shots show the actor’s eyes normally, so it’s not a case of his eyes having been removed (in story, not in reality, obviously), but the effect still works. And he’s wrapped up for the entire film! A nice treat after seeing so little of mummified Imhotep last time. It’s going to be interesting seeing how he survived being immolated since the next movie is a direct sequel.

MUMMY FUN FACT! This time the mummy was played by Tom Tyler, known for playing Captain Marvel (now called Shazam!) in 1941’s Adventures of Captain Marvel serial, which was one of the first times ever a comic book character appeared on the silver screen!


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2 thoughts on “The Mummy’s Hand (1940)

  1. Pingback: The Mummy (1959) – Chwineka Watches

  2. Pingback: The Mummy’s Tomb (1942) – Chwineka Watches

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