Rewatching the Universal Monsters! The ones on the Blu-ray box, at least. Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy was the duo’s last movie with Universal, and their second-to-last movie overall.
Here’s what happens: Archeologists dig up the mummy Klaris (not Kharis), who has a medallion leading to a buried treasure. Abbott and Costello play two tourists looking for work, only to get involved as the followers of Klaris will do anything to get the medallion. And let’s not forget Klaris himself, who gets up and shambling in no time.
Monster! Once Klaris rises from the tomb, he doesn’t act all that menacing. He seems more curious than anything. But this does lead to a memorable finale in which both Bug and one of the villains dress up in mummy wrappings, resulting in three mummies bumbling about. Klaris’ final rampage scene is short, but memorable.
Also a monster! The Klaris cultists have a whole crew of sinister no-gooders out to get our heroes, including weirdo leader Semu and femme fatale Madame Rontru.
Also a monster! Along the way, Lou is also menaced by a couple of snakes, a bat, a skeleton (!) and a totally random giant iguana.
Bud and Lou: Although the credits list them as “Pete” and “Freddie,” Abbott and Costello use their real names throughout the movie. Their characters have no backstory, so it’s full-on meta with them playing themselves.
Hapless humans: The supporting characters are almost entirely the villains or rival agents, leaving only the occasional doctor, waiter, or local kid to fill out the cast.
Thrills: There are a few scrapes and near misses before we get to the end, for some proper mummy carnage.
Laughs: The movie is structured so that every couple of minutes, the plot stops to Abbott and Costello can do a bit, and then we’re off again. A lot of bits are winners, though, and they’re short so they never overstay they’re welcome. Of particular interest is the “Slipping the Mickey” and “Take your pick” routines, which allegedly originated in A&C’s standup acts.
What’s all this, then? By my count, there are at least four other Abbott and Costello movies produced by Universal that could have made it onto the Blu-ray box, Hold That Ghost, Abbott and Costello meet the Killer Boris Karloff, Abbott and Costello meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the monster-adjacent Abbott and Costello go to Mars.
Thoughts upon this viewing: I really liked this one! It’s a real pulp comedy-adventure caper. A lot of the jokes land, and everything zips along at a quick pace. Just a good time at the movies.
Next: No day at the beach.
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