In 1921 a
field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of
the high priest, Im-Ho-Tep, who was buried alive
for sacrilege. Found with him, is the Scroll of
Thoth, which Isis used to resurrect her beloved
Osiris. When one archaeologist reads the scroll
aloud, the Mummy comes to life!
later, an Egyptian named Ardif Bay (Boris
Karloff) leads a new group of archeologists to
the tomb of the Princess Ankh-su-Nom-An. Among
the archeologists, is a young, dark haired
beauty named Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann).
mystical powers, Ardif Bay summons Helen
Grosvenor to him. He peels back the layers of
time, and shows Helen the Princess Ankh-su-Nom-An
and how she died. He shows how Im-Ho-Tep, dared
to use the Scroll of Thoth, to resurrect his
lost love – and how he was caught, and entombed
alive as a mummy. 3,700 years later, the field
expedition discovers his tomb. It was the
reading of the Scroll that brought Im-Ho-Tep to
life as Ardif Bay!
Grosvenor must die so she can be reborn as the
Princess Ankh-su-Nom-An, a living mummy like
appeals to me for several reasons.
Johann is lovely, as the imperiled Helen
Grosvenor. She is impeccably costumed throughout
the film; wearing a long gown and a fur
stole at the museum gala, beautiful lingerie
later, and finally the stunning garb of an
Egyptian Princess. There are many cinemagraphic
similarities involving the costuming and camera
shots of Zita Johann in The Mummy, and Penelope
Ann Miller in The Shadow (1994). Coincidentally,
both were released through Universal Pictures.
character of Im-Ho-Tep is fantastic. His figure
is lean and impressive. He is physically
imposing, standing much taller than everyone
else. His diction and manners are impeccable:
“Your pardon; I dislike to be touched.” He is a
powerful High Priest, who risks eternal
damnation to resurrect his beloved Princess. He
is mad to do so, and his insane infatuation with
Princess Ankh-su-Nom-An leads him to kidnap
Helen Grosvenor. Is Helen really the
reincarnation of Ankh-su-Nom-An? Im-Ho-Tep
believes so, and enchants Helen into believing
Is there a
greater love, than this insane, pathological
love that has lasted 3,700 years? The
protagonists are the same in every love story.
This is Romeo & Juliet; minus the teen angst.
This is Sex and Death. It is one man’s desire to
risk everything to be with the woman he loves. I
think this insane, mad love is the greatest testament of
love for another, there is.