Mummy Mondays have reached the last movie in the Universal Classic Monsters group: Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. The horror genre is tossed aside in favor of comedy (and random dance and singing interludes). And you know what? It works.
Another departure from the previous entries is that there are three groups in play (four if you count the city guards): Abbott and Costello themselves, the cultists who want the mummy Klaris to be returned to his tomb, and gangsters led by Madame Rontru who want to get rich. The cultists are not exactly good guys, killing off a professor early on, but once everyone knows about the gangsters they end up being the lesser of two evils. Hell, the movie ends with the comedy duo opening a nightclub with the cultists!
I don’t know where I picked up the apparently fake fact that the Mummy this time, Klaris, was the cousin of Kharis from the previous movies, but that’s never stated. Instead he’s another mummy cursed to live forever, guardian of the tomb of Princess Ara, and tool of a cult that is named after him. Familiar elements, but not quite the same as the past five films. Klaris is played by Mr. Eddie Parker, a man probably best known for his stuntwork and who was a stand-in for Lon Chaney Jr. in The Mummy’s Tomb. And he’s fine, well suited for a comedy like this. Klaris is basically wearing a bandage onesie with his eyes and mouth uncovered, and it doesn’t look awful. It’s not the best, but what are you gonna do.
I had never actually seen Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in a movie before, having only heard the audio version of Who’s On First when I was younger. A couple people at Movie Night had seen them in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the more well known movie where they interact with a classic monster. Here the duo are playing themselves as far as you can tell, until the end credits appear and you find out their character names were Pete Patterson and Freddie Franklin. Wait, what? They constantly refer to each other by their real names; “Pete” or “Freddie” are never said, making me wonder if anyone had told the duo they weren’t playing themselves. Anyway they’re great, and the sequence where Costello eats the medallion was performed wonderfully.
MUMMY FUN FACT! This was Abbott and Costello’s 35th movie together and their second to last as a duo, the final film being 1956’s Dance with Me, Henry. I’m not counting The World of Abbott and Costello in 1965 since that was a compilation film.
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