Movie Review: Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1955 comedy starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Synopsis: Pete and Freddie hope to gain employment by offering to escort an Egyptologist's newly-discovered mummy back to the United States. However, when the scientist is murdered, they become the primary suspects in his death. Hoping to leave Egypt, they try to sell an ancient amulet and, instead, are hunted both by treasure hunters and a cult looking to use the amulet to resurrect the mummy.

Review

I saw this movie was airing on TV last night and decided to let my oldest daughter (a big Abbott and Costello fan too) stay up past her bedtime and watch it with me. It had been a while since I had watched this particular film and I didn't remember much about it. However, after seeing it again, I now remember why it is not part of my Abbott and Costello collection. The film, in all honesty, just isn't that good, at least when it is compared to their other films.

I don't use the phrase "phoning it in" very often. But, when it comes to this movie, that phrase fits perfectly. I usually like Abbott and Costello movies but, in this one, they really did seem to just be going through the motions. Heck, they didn't even bother using their characters' names (Pete and Freddie) and, more often than not, were just using their real names throughout the film.

I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn't even make an effort to offer some sort of original comedy material until the film is almost over. Most of the movie consisted of the same Abbott and Costello jokes I've seen in other films (though they were, admittedly, modified a bit to fit the movie's theme). And, if that wasn't bad enough, some of those comedy routines (such as scenes involving Costello seeing something that disappears by the time Abbott comes in to see it) were repeated.

Let's put it this way. Seeing Costello blowing on a horn and a snake popping out of a basket was funny. Seeing Costello repeat the same gag later in the film wasn't.

There is also quite a bit of filler material in this film. For example, it's not unusual to see a song or dance number in their movies. This one managed to eat up a good chunk of its already short (79-minute) runtime by having four.

On top of it, despite the title, the mummy, Klaris (Parker) actually has a very small, almost cameo-like role in the film. You only see the creature for a couple minutes throughout the movie and it doesn't even get out of the sarcophagus until the film is almost over. Considering the mummy was actually kind of creepy and memorable as a result of that, I was pretty disappointed by this.

Final Opinion

The movie had some funny moments. But, compared to their other films, it just seemed to lack something. As a result, I wasn't overly impressed with it.

My Grade: C

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Updated: 05/29/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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