Universal Monsters: The Mummy's Ghost (1944)
Although they’re not great, the movies in the Universal Monsters mummy series at least had a
consistent recipe. Beginning with The Mummy’s Hand (1940), each installment added a
slightly different twist to the set-up, yet always managed to tell the exact same story:
An aging Egyptian high priest recaps the original story of Kharis, the mummy, for a younger protégé, then sends him on a mission.
Kharis is summoned with tana leaves and used as a lackey to help complete the mission, which always involves a beautiful young woman.
The younger protégé decides he wants to be immortal with the beautiful young woman and Kharis must ultimately stop him.
Along the way, Kharis shuffles to and fro across the desert or countryside, terrorizing the locals.
The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) is the third in the series. This time, the aging Egyptian high priest,
Andoheb (George Zucco) recaps the original story of Kharis, the mummy, for Yousef Bey (John
Carradine), then sends him on mission to bring Kharis and the body of Princess Ananka back to
Egypt from the United States. Last time, the mission was to take Kharis to the United States.
The twist is that the beautiful young woman who is involved, Amina Mansouri (Ramsay Ames),
is the Egyptian girlfriend of Tom Hervey (Robert Lowery) and becomes the physical
reincarnation of Ananka when Kharis touches his old love’s body. The realization that Bey wants
to be with her is particularly forced in this version as a voice in his head convinces him of it.
There are two clever things about The Mummy’s Ghost. First is that the longer Amina lives as
Ananka, the older she gets. A white streak in her hair from her first encounter with Kharis soon
becomes a full head of silver. By the end of the movie, she’s completely wrinkled. Second is the
end of the movie. It’s not a happy ending. Spoiler alert: Kharis and Amina/Ananka sink to the
bottom of a swamp.
I guess there’s another thing I like about The Mummy’s Ghost, and it’s a plus for the others in
the series, as well. It’s only an hour long. At least the familiar story, and questionable threat of
the mummy, clips along at a quick pace. Yes, these movies are faster than the mummy itself. It
takes less time to watch one of them than it does for poor Kharis to cross a field.