Senior HTF Member
- May 22, 1999
- Real Name
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.