The Mummy’s Curse
The sense of an interrupted rite informs the film with its twofold image of burial swamp and forsaken monastery. The essence is a secretary (the boss’s niece) wed by a doctor of archæology, their path is mirrored by Ananka and Kharis.
Each of the Mummy films in the Universal series is distinct and unique as a consideration of the theme, though linked by plot details and flashbacks. The New York Times reviewers thought they were seeing a serial manqué, and went from sheer confusion to castigation.
This is still a problem, critics cannot answer simple propositions such as Burt Kennedy’s, that a theme with variations can occur as a logically comprehensible sequence.
The Mummy’s Curse is a rapid, skillful masterpiece, the brilliance of its analysis accounts for its speed. The pivotal wartime song at the outset in Tante Berthe’s Café, “Hey, You!”,
Till we meet again
On the Place Madeleine,
...I go for you!
sets the stage. The lovers are inert, passion-bound, distracted, represented surrealistically. Kharis smashes through a locked door in the monastery, the ceiling of a wing collapses, the lovers depart at the foot of the long stone stairway descending from the ruins on a hill, a remarkable view repeated several times and certainly echoed by Alfred Hitchcock in Universal’s Psycho.
The deftness and cerebralism of Goodwins’ direction establish the genius of a film that must be understood to be seen (and peace be upon the everlasting critics).