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International To My Eyes...BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB (Hammer) from the UK (1 Viewer)

Dick

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Second only to the original 1959 Hammer retelling/reimagining of the 1932 Universal classic, BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB (1971) is my favorite of the studio's series, and it doesn't even feature an actual mummy!

Bram Stoker is, of course, much less well-remembered for the book this film is based upon (Jewel Of the Seven Stars) than for Dracula. According to the included documentary on this release, Stoker spent some time involved with Egyptology, and based his novel upon actual ancient beliefs in reincarnation as opposed to any pre-wrapped mummies coming back to life to consummate a curse against people who vandalized a tomb, as screenwriters would speculate.

So, what we have here is a story about a young woman, Margaret, who is having strange nightmares, seeing herself as an Egyptian queen. It happens that she bears an uncanny resemblance to the fully preserved (?) body of an actual ancient queen kept in her sarcophagus in modern-day England. Turns out that, when she was born twenty years earlier, her mother had died, as did Margaret, though the latter was then revived, simultaneously with a discovery in the Egyptian tomb from which the sarcophagus was taken . If this sounds familiar, you may have seen the 1980 film with Charlton Heston called THE AWAKENING (Warner Archives DVD), also based on the Stoker book. BFTMT is far superior to that, however (although I love the Claude Bolling score for AWAKENING).

Peter Cushing was originally cast as Professor Fuchs, but left the picture after only a day when he found his wife was terminally ill. He was replaced by Andrew Keir (QUATERMASS AND THE PIT), who spends a bit too much time for my liking unconscious in bed. The main antagonist/innocent victim of queen/Margaret is played by the buxom Valerie Leon (several of the CARRY ON comedies, a Bond girl in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), and acquits herself nicely in a role that alternates between romantic and seductive, and quite creepy and murderous as she slowly takes on the soul of the queen.

The film is well photographed, but I find some of the murder sequences a bit over the top in terms of wild camera angles and pans mixed with staccato editing. Try to figure out that badly-mounted car crash that kills one of the main characters. Decent score by Tristram Cary (also on QUATERMASS AND THE PIT).

Touting its status as "Fully Restored," (whatever that specifically means here, as no technical information is provided), the Blu-ray from Studiocanal looks excellent. Film grain, flesh tones & color in general, black levels seem pretty spot-on to my eyes. The ratio is 1.66:1. Sound is a very clear DTS HD master audio 2.0. Subtitles are available. The sole extra is an 18-minute "featurette," "The Pharaoh's Curse: Inside Blood From the Mummy's Tomb." The disc is Region B locked.

Highly recommended.
 
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Robin9

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I saw this film on its first release. I was surprised that Valerie Leon's career did not develop better as she is really impressive in this film.
 

commander richardson

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I saw this film on its first release. I was surprised that Valerie Leon's career did not develop better as she is really impressive in this film.

I saw the BD a few nights ago...Valerie Leon is interviewed in the extras and looks just as attractive today as when the film was made ... good actress as well. .
 

Stephen PI

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I think the film would have been better if original director Seth Holt had not passed away during production. Michael Carreras had the difficult job of figuring out Holt's concept from the footage that had already been shot.
 

Dick

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Peter Cushing leaves because of his wife's terminal illness and the director dies during the production. This film had serious hurdles to overcome.

These tragedies are mentioned by several interviewees in the documentary, including Ms. Leon.
 

lark144

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Hammer's best years were well behind it when this came out. She is the best aspect to a rather dull film.
I saw the film when it first came out--as a number of people note above, Seth Holt died during the production--and there are a number of extremely strong sequences that attain an almost mystical, or perhaps even spiritual essence through composition and camera movement, but unfortunately, this doesn't really go anywhere as many other sequences are simply flatly directed and by the numbers. However, for me (and many of my friends with whom I first saw this film back in the early 70's) the sequences directed by Seth Holt are so extraordinary that the film is well worth seeing again. Now of course I haven't seen this film since it was originally released, but I remember sequences where though the use of the camera, the images seemed to invoke a feeling of a rejuvenated ancient spirit possessing a young woman's body, not through plot mechanics or dialogue, but rather through a kind of image that invokes (for me) silent cinema in that it exists beyond words but resides deep in our primal emotions. Now I can't remember specifically how this was done, but I do remember specific images as well as the Rococo architecture of the theater I saw it in--specifically the New Amsterdam on 42nd Street---so I would certainly not call this a "run of the mill Hammer." I suppose one could call this film an array of starting images and sounds within a run of the mill Hammer, but those sequences directed by Seth Holt that remain are--for me-- well worth seeing again. I would also say that while I am a big fan of Seth holt's films, the sequences in BLOOD IN THE MUMMY'S TOMB are unique in his filmography, and what they reminded me of was silent films--specifically Victor Sjostrom's THE WIND & THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE. Now I'm certainly not arguing that anything in BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY'S TOMB is on that level, only that it evoked the same kinds of feelings in me as a viewer. While this Blu-Ray is in my Amazon.Uk cart, I haven't gotten around to purchasing it yet. And it is possible that when I do, it will not be as good as I remember...well, as a whole the film was a mess, but individual sequences had me mesmerized, as I had never quite seen anyone use the camera quite that way before...certainly not in a Hammer sequel, anyway. In any case, this is what I remember.
 

Dick

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I saw the film when it first came out--as a number of people note above, Seth Holt died during the production--and there are a number of extremely strong sequences that attain an almost mystical, or perhaps even spiritual essence through composition and camera movement, but unfortunately, this doesn't really go anywhere as many other sequences are simply flatly directed and by the numbers. However, for me (and many of my friends with whom I first saw this film back in the early 70's) the sequences directed by Seth Holt are so extraordinary that the film is well worth seeing again.

Is there a source for determining which parts of the film Holt directed, and which were completed by Michael Carreras? Holt did six weeks on the film, and Carreras only one.
 

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