Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cushing battles undying evil in 'The Mummy'

The Mummy (1959)
Starring: Peter Cushing, Yvonne Furneaux, and Christopher Lee
Director: Terence Fisher
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

A Victorian archeology expedition unearths and carries off the treasures from the tomb of Egyptian princess Ananka, so the secret society devoted to protecting it pursues the members back to England. Here, the fanatics unleash her eternal protector, a mummy (Lee), onto the British countryside. Whether the expedition members are in manor houses or insane asylums, the mummy finds and kills them, until only John Banning (Cushing) remains. When the mummy confronts Banning, however, it becomes captivated with his wife (Furneaux), who bears a strinking resemblance to his long-dead mistress.

Hammer Films' revival of "The Mummy" in gorgeous color is one of the best films that production house was responsible for. Better than "Horror of Dracula", but not quite as good as "The Curse of Frankenstein," it is a suspenseful movie. Cushing is as good as ever, and Lee also turns in a good performance as Kharis, whether as the shambling mummy, or as the living man during the flashback to ancient Egypt. The entirety of the final confrontation between Banning and the mummy is movie-making excellence.