ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY (1955) Reviews and overview

 

Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy

‘They’re chummy with a mummy!’

Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is a 1955 American comedy horror film directed by Charles Lamont (Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible ManAbbott and Costello Meet Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Francis in the Haunted House) from a story by Lee Loeb and a screenplay by John Grant for Universal-International.

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Obviously, it stars the comedy team of Abbott and Costello, plus Marie Windsor (Cat-Women of the MoonThe Day Mars Invaded Earth; Chamber of Horrors), Michael Ansara and Peggy King. Although Abbott and Costello were called “Pete and Freddie” in the script and in the closing credits, they used their real names on screen during filming.

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Americans Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are stranded in Cairo, Egypt, due to a lack of money. The duo happen to overhear Doctor Gustav Zoomer (Kurt Katch) discussing the mummy Klaris, the guardian of the Tomb of Princess Ara.

Apparently, the mummy has a sacred medallion that shows where the treasure of Princess Ara can be found. The Followers of Klaris, led by Semu (Richard Deacon), overhear the conversation along with Madame Rontru (Marie Windsor), a businesswoman interested in stealing the treasure of Princess Ara…

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Reviews:

” …the witty banter that made Abbott and Costello household names is sorely lacking (I liked the “mummy” discussion early on, when Costello is shocked to learn “some mummies can be men”, but an exchange involving a shovel and pick, designed to resemble their famous “Who’s on First” routine, falls flat well before it’s over). Still, like any Abbott and Costello outing, there are laughs to be found…” 2,500 Movies Challenge

” …the plot is immaterial. Abbott and Costello had a small repertoire of tricks which they repeated over and over, and all of them are present and correct here. There are a few funny moments here and there, and for once the boys exercise some restraint and resist the temptation to stretch out each joke way beyond its — and our — endurance. Marie Windsor provides some welcome class…” 20/20 Movie Reviews

“There’s not much material for a half-hour TV show, never mind a full-length feature film. None of their formulaic gags work, the studio set is laughable in how cheesy it looks, the plotline is tedious and the action lacks any vigor. The only good news is that this is the last of those films the boys made with the Universal monsters created from the 1930s.” Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

“This one is often dismissed as the weakest of the series, and I can see why; it feels cheaper and more rushed than the others, the timing isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be, and for those who like the horror elements, they’re sorely lacking here and the monster is lame. Still, I have a sneaking affection for it; it gives Bud and Lou a wider variety of humorous situations than they usually got in their horror-comedies…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy was their second to last movie together, and it definitely shows. The fresh energy and comedy style the pioneered and honed in the 40’s appears here as just a ghost, and I don’t mean some guy with a sheet over his head.” Films in Boxes

“This A & C movie is just like most of the other A & C movies, at its best when the two leads are onscreen and sparking off each other. Fans of The Mummy, as one of the classic Universal monsters, may be upset by the fact that the character isn’t ever really portrayed as a real threat but fans of Bud and Lou should find this a worthwhile viewing.” For It Is Man’s Number

” … their material is pedestrianly hokey …” Hollywood Reporter

“Dreadful in every respect, with jokes that are older than the Mummy is supposed to be. The last of the classic Universal monsters to be killed off by Abbott and Costello and an unworthy end.” Alan Frank, The Horror Film Handbook

“Often, they [Abbott and Costello] uplifted the audiences and Universal from dire moments, however this last movie, saw everything unraveling quickly, a relationship faulted, health issues, financial stress, and special magic vanishing faster than the sand in an hourglass. The humor, likely fulfilling the die-hard fans, but they’ll honestly admit there’s something truly missing from the overall finished product.” The Horror Times

“While I enjoy Meet Frankenstein more as far as their horror mash-ups go, Meet the Mummy is very entertaining in its own right and features some very funny bits. The “take your pick” routine is a standout for me. Almost twenty years into their career together, Abbott and Costello were still at the top of their abilities.” Life Between Frames

“The film is a cheap and miserable one. The studio backlot production values entirely fail to convince one that the locations are in any way Egyptian. The sets are cheap – there is one supposedly stout wooden door that can be seen to crinkle when it moves. The plot is a tedious, dull matter.” Moria

Bud Abbott and Marie Windsor in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy

” … cult B movie queen Marie Windsor showed up here as the main villainess, and although she simply goes through the motions required of her, you know the type of thing, order the henchmen about, mock-seduce Lou and so on, she does it with her customary professionalism.” The Spinning Image

” …poor Klaris barely gets a look in – and when he does appear he’s wearing a horribly saggy, embarrassingly tacky mummy suit. For the rest of the running time, it’s up to Abbott and Costello to pad out the flick by flailing around and repeating long worn-out gags (A terrified Lou runs to Bud who, inevitably, investigates to find whatever scared Lou is long gone – a gag that is repeated over and over again…)” Spoiler Alert

“From the magical pungi to the mummy itself, every Middle Eastern cliché is exploited. There’s a bit of xenophobia injected for good measure. Abbott and Costello are called infidels. The bad guys are walking Middle-Eastern stereotypes. That said, these pitfalls were not clichés, yet, which is kind of adorable. Don’t hold your breath for the mummy.” Tales of Terror

“The bit where the medallion is hidden in a hamburger roll is priceless and is the comedic highlight.  The mummy costume is pretty shoddy, but the laughs are there.” The Video Vacuum

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Cast and characters:

Bud Abbott … Pete Patterson
Lou Costello … Freddie Franklin
Marie Windsor … Madame Rontru
Michael Ansara … Charlie
Dan Seymour … Josef
Richard Deacon … Semu
Kurt Katch … Doctor Zoomer
Richard Karlan … Hetsut
Mel Welles … Iben
George Khoury … Habid
Eddie Parker … Klaris (as Edwin Parker)
Mazzone-Abbott Dancers … Dance Troupe (as The Mazzone-Abbott Dancers)
Chandra Kaly and His Dancers … Dance Troupe
Peggy King … Vocalist

Technical details:

79 minutes
Audio: Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Black and white
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

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