The Mummy’s Ghost - Scripts from the Crypt Collection No. 15 (paperback)
The Mummy’s Ghost - Scripts from the Crypt Collection No. 15
by Gregory W. Mank and Tom Weaver
At the height of World War II, Americans on the home front were making do with less in all corners of their lives, from food to cloths to cars. A recent arrival in our fair land, Kharis the Mummy of Mapleton, Massachusetts, née Prince Kharis of Egypt, also made a sacrifice: his royal lineage!
During WWII, one of the responsibilities of the Office of War Information (OWI) was to ensure that nothing in Hollywood movies offended our allies or neutral countries. In 1943, when Universal proposed a third Kharis movie, The Mummy’s Ghost, its plot again had Kharis and a mad holy man committing murder in the service of Egypt’s demon gods. Alarm bells sounded in Washington and the OWI’s concerns were relayed to Universal. The script rewriting began, with government men and even a Washington expert on Middle Eastern affairs getting in on the act.
The Mummy’s Ghost tells us that the Kharis of ancient Egypt was a commoner rather than a prince, but this change did not affect the Mummy’s homicidal streak, wider than ever as he seeks to bring the mummy of Princess Ananka home to Egypt.
When Ananka’s soul finds a new home in an Egyptian girl, Amina Mansouri, Kharis abducts the young beauty and carries her to a nearby swamp, where both have a date with destiny.
BOOK REVIEW by CINEAVANT.com:
"I have a quick Book Review today … it’s the third ‘Mummy’ entry in the Scripts from the Crypt collection edited by Tom Weaver, a full-coverage script & scrapbook, essay & article-laden tome on the beloved penultimate title in the series, The Mummy’s Ghost. Although fans vote differenly, it’s my personal favorite of the ’40s Mummy pictures.
This time around writer Gregory W. Mank gets top billing — Tom Weaver ladles on the wealth of incidental info, random clippings, odd continuity ramblings and humor, but Mr. Mank carries the main 50-page production history piece on TMG, in fine form, I must say. Bryan Senn, Laura Wagner, Frank Dello Stritto, Alan K. Rode and Larry Blamire each add chapters, covering the actors and the director, and examining the series from multiple angles.
Tom handles an analysis of transformations, alterations, and changes made to the script so as not to offend Turks and Egyptians. Many changes seem intended just to save a dime or two on the Universal ledger books. The most fascinating stuff involves details that only meticulous, obsessed, certifiable truly dedicated fans would notice, such as a telltale birthmark that appears and disappears from one of the characters. Weaver also delves into head-scratching issues of simple cause & effect logic — the unlucky Amina (to-die-for Ramsay Ames) appears to be stricken by a terrible curse from the past . . . before said curse has been initiated.
You’ll be happy to know that in the midst of fighting WW2, the U.S. government filled a thick file with correspondence to make sure that TMG wouldn’t cause our Middle Eastern allies to switch to the side of the Axis — Weaver includes a fistful of documents on the matter.
In the true spirit of ‘Everything Goes and it’s all Interesting,’ The Ghost book ends with 75 pages of Addendums, odd ephemera and tangential items as worthwhile as the core material, plus one item inadvertently omitted from the previous Mummy book. And we told ourselves we wouldn’t spread rumors about Tom W. hittin’ the Old Tana Juice . . .
Okay, yes, I can’t resist the urge to tell an annoying personal tie-in story. In the third grade I discovered Famous Monsters at about issue #32, through pal Arthur Gaitan, whose family owned a fancy Mexican Restaurant. Already a confirmed monster fanatic, Arthur broke me in on basic lore regarding Frankenstein (that’s the doctor’s name, stupid) and Dracula (he bites ’em, but they don’t show it, stupid). I’d seen the Hammer Mummy theatrically and loved it, so was keen to see what Lon Chaney Jr. would be like in this Mummy’s Ghost show.
The chase finale was a cinema lesson in parallel cutting, but also an early life lesson in weirdness. Essentially, Kharis has Kharried off the lovely Amina (Ms. Ames, swoon). She is already affected by the curse, or a serum, or something … her hair has been turning white for a scene or two. As Kharis takes her right into the swamp, we keep cutting back to the posse and her boyfriend … who don’t seem to be making particularly good progress in their pursuit.
The Mummy’s Ghost didn’t cooperate with my assumptions of how ‘Suspense’ was supposed to work on screen. Amina is sinking deeper into the swamp. It really doesn’t look like the dumb boyfriend can rescue her in time . . . but something will intervene, right? . . . RIGHT? I must have had a pretty funny expression on my face when ‘The End’ popped up. Raised mostly on stuff no edgier than Lassie, the idea of a surprise Bad Ending was unthinkable, a betrayal. Ten minutes later, I still thought it was a mistake, that maybe the movie wasn’t over. Thus ends the story of a Young Man’s Disillusionment. The balance of my childhood growing up simply repeated the ‘surprise, stupid’ cycle at regular intervals. And that’s why I’m always tickled by The Mummy’s Ghost".