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Film / The Mummy's Hand

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The Mummy's Hand is a 1940 Universal Horror film, directed by Christy Cabanne.

Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his sidekick, Babe Jenson (Wallace Ford), are stuck in Egypt following largely unsuccessful efforts at archaeology. They get lucky when they discover a clue to the location of the Princess Ananka's tomb, and convince Solvani (Cecil Kellaway), a traveling magician, to fund an expedition there, on which Banning and Jenson are joined by Solvani and his daughter Marta (Peggy Moran). They all become targets of Andoheb (George Zucco), the high priest of a secret order charged with guarding the tomb and its Mummy Kharis (Tom Tyler).

The Mummy's Hand is a reboot of The Mummy from 1932, exchanging the mummy Imhotep for the mummy Kharis but keeping the backstory all the same. It is also a Trope Codifier for the mummy-themed horror films.

It was followed by three sequel films, all starring Lon Chaney Jr. as Kharis: The Mummy's Tomb (1942), The Mummy's Ghost (1944), and The Mummy's Curse (1944). It would later be remade as the Hammer Horror film The Mummy (1959), with Christopher Lee as Kharis and Peter Cushing as Banning. Its pulpier, more Two-Fisted Tales tone was also a big influence on the 1999 remake of the 1932 film.

Tropes in this film:

  • Bar Brawl: Starts out when some men paid by "the beggar" attack our heroes.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Babe's the comic relief of the film, but he's the one who ends up killing Andoheb.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Kharis's eyes in the closeups appear as two black holes.
  • Buried Alive: Kharis was buried alive for the sacrilegious act of trying to resurrect his love, Princess Ananka.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Employed in the bar brawl (where else?).
  • Disappearing Box: Solvani has one. When he drops into it after being confronted by Marta about financing the expedition, he disappears from it and ends up in a locked one.
  • Fantastic Flora: The tana plant, the leaves of which can be brewed into a liquid usable to reanimate Kharis. Supposedly, the plant the leaves come from has since gone extinct, but throughout the series the priests never seem to run out.
  • Gag Dub: The Firesign Theatre did one live over the radio for one of the sequels, The Mummy's Tomb, by watching it on TV in the studio. Viewers at home were encouraged to turn on their televisions and watch along.
  • Genre Savvy: Kharis can remember what happens in each film, and kills his master in the third one when he starts espousing the same plot as the last two.
  • Immune to Bullets: Bullets do absolutely nothing to Kharis.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The slaves that buried Kharis in the past were killed after they were finished.
  • Pick a Card: Jenson uses this trick to gain free drinks at bars. It backfires when he tries it on Solvani.
  • Silent Snarker: Kharis, and it gets much more pronounced in the sequels.
  • Stage Magician: The Great Solvani, Marta's father.
  • What Have We Ear?: One of the magic tricks that Solvani does.
  • Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Jackals, in this case.