Sunday, September 12, 2010

1940 - THE MUMMY'S HAND, how to reboot a franchise in 1940

When the stars and director of a successful film franchise get very expensive the studio reboots the whole franchise.  Case in point the Batman series, the James Bond series and the soon to be new Spiderman series.  The studios spend lots of money on new actors, directors and writers in the hope of wringing every last dollar out of their tapped out gold mines.

In 1940, Universal Studios decided to reboot their 1932 Mummy film.  In this case they recognized it as a quick way to make a buck.  They spent a budget of about $1.25 to get The Mummy's Hand made. 

This is a fast paced and I do mean fast paced film that runs only 65 minutes.  They packed a lot of stuff into this film, comedy, a bar fight, a little romance and a scary mummy.  They also made sure to throw in about  5 minutes of footage from the original  Mummy film which  brings the film to about 60 minutes of actual new footage. 

A perennial favorite of mine in my younger days.  The film always amused me for all the outrageous plot turns and coincidences that occur throughout the film.  When you have only 60 minutes to tell a story, you kind of don't have much time to mess around with careful story construction.

The film has a lot of comic relief in it.  This appears to be intentional, but when the mummy starts crawling around killing people the film does get pretty serious. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein gets most of the credit for mixing comedy and horror, but it seems to me that The Mummy's Hand did this about 8 years earlier.

The Mummy's Hand still played pretty well for me this weekend.  The mummy makeup looked good and there was never a dull moment.  Frankly the whole idea of some monster who can barely walk actually being able to catch people and kill them is a little ridiculous. 

When was the last time you watched a decent little B film than ran 65 minutes?

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