Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 243: Sat Aug 31

The Mummy (Fisher, 1959): British Museum, 8pm

Monster Weekend at the British Museum is the launch event for Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film, which will comprise a major season at BFI Southbank and across the UK from October to January next year.

The BFI introduction to the third night's screening: The success of Dracula saw Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing – by now referred to by one newspaper as ‘The Horror Boys’ – teamed again in this Universal-sanctioned refresh of the Mummy mythos. But whereas Karloff had quickly relinquished his bandages, Lee – as reanimated Ancient Egyptian Kharis – retains his. Devoid of dialogue, his chillingly expressive eyes tell a tale of torment, as he wreaks violent vengeance on those who desecrated the resting place of his long lost love (Furneaux). Director Fisher expertly piles on atmosphere and excitement, as supernaturally strong Kharis erupts nightmarishly from shadowy swamp to violate the well-ordered world of enfeebled archaeologist Banning, impeccably portrayed by Cushing. The film will be screened in a digitally remastered version.

Time Out review:
One of the most fetching of Fisher's early Hammer movies, the third in the trilogy which comprises The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula. Its qualities are almost entirely abstract and visual, with colour essential to its muted, subtle imagery. Christopher Lee looks tremendous in the title role, smashing his way through doorways and erupting from green, dream-like quagmires in really awe-isnpiring fashion. Yvonne Furneaux plays one of Fisher's most crucial heroines, Isobel Banning, who has let her hair down (literally) and become sensual in order to free her husband (Cushing) from the curse he invokes by opening an Egyptian tomb.
David Pirie

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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