The Mummy’s Ghost (1944)

*. Things get off to a better start. Not a great start, but better than the other Kharis films (The Mummy’s Hand and The Mummy’s Tomb), both of which wasted ten minutes or more replaying highlights from previous films in order to explain their back stories.
*. Here the background is presented in a more interesting way — as part of a college lecture — and it’s done quicker. But there is still a prologue set in Egypt introducing us to John Carradine, who is going to be the man on the ground for the priests of Arkam.
*. Yes, the high priests of Arkam now, not Karnak. Because Karnak is a real place and someone found its use here offensive?
*. Originally the film was just going to open with Kharis walking out of the woods without any explanation, which would have been even more abrupt. I guess they needed to do a bit of filling in for audiences who missed the last two instalments in the franchise, but it’s too bad they stuck to the same damn plot, with the flunky priest using Kharis to get revenge on those who desecrated the temple, before falling in love with the female lead themselves and trying to shoot her full of immortality serum. This is the same story they used in all the previous Mummy pictures!
*. Not that it really needs to be said, but Kharis here is not a ghost. It’s explained that he was just injured at the end of the previous film. The title, as per usual with this series, means nothing.
*. I’d thought they’d give Kharis a bit more to do, but his character remains a cipher. He obviously wants to be reunited with his lost love the Princess Ananka, but beyond that he’s hard to read.
*. It’s a weirdly designed script. We’re made to think that Barton MacLane’s Inspector Walgreen is going to be the guy to solve the case. And he comes up with a damn good plan. He realizes right away that those tana leaves are catnip to the Mummy and so he brews a pot of them while digging a concealed pit for the creature to fall in. And then . . . nothing happens. The Mummy decides to grab Amina instead and the trap is never used.
*. Meanwhile, it’s up to the little dog to lead young Tom and then the angry mob (at least without torches this time) to where Carradine and Chaney are hiding. This played out as being rather silly, and left me wondering why they hadn’t used hounds to track the Mummy right from the beginning. The mob of villagers in Frankenstein had tracking hounds. Kharis is leaving as clear a trail as you could imagine, with footprints and smashed fences and walls left in his wake. How hard would it be to track him down?
*. OK, so it’s all silly stuff. Still, I think it’s more entertaining than the previous two entries, even if it does come to a rather anticlimactic and depressing conclusion, including the death of the innocent leading lady. It wouldn’t be long at all, however, before the Mummy would surface again.

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