ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY
Review by Ed Nguyen
Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor, Richard Deacon, Eddie Parker
Director: Charles Lamont
Audio: English monaural, Spanish, French
Video: Black & white, full-frame 1.33:1
Features: Trailer, production notes
Length: 80 minutes
Release Date: August 18, 2001
"How stupid can you get?"
"How stupid do you want me to
good things must come to an end. And
so it was when Universal released Abbott
and Costello Meet the Mummy in 1955. Bud
Abbott and Lou Costello's illustrious association with Universal had begun with
1940's One Night in the Tropics, but
by the mid-1950's, the comedy duo's clean brand of sometimes-burlesque and
sometimes-radio skit comedy was being passed over for the chaotic mayhem of the
Martin & Lewis team and the exciting vibes of early rock 'n' roll music.
Nevertheless, Abbott and Costello
Meet the Mummy today remains one of the boys' more entertaining films, a
last hurrah and a fun throwback to the innocent fun and music of the duo's
and Costello Meet the Mummy
finds our boys in Egypt, where everyone seems to be obsessed with a missing
medallion belonging to the mummy Klaris. The
mummy's medallion purportedly reveals the location of vast riches and treasures.
By pure accident, the medallion falls into Costello's unsuspecting hands
after the previous owner, a local archaeologist, mysteriously dies.
everyone wants that medallion for him/herself.
A gold-digging femme fatale (Marie Windsor) is willing to sacrifice our
boys' lives to acquire it. Her
motto - "There is no curse that a gun or a knife can't cure."
The local police, believing that Abbott & Costello have killed the
archaeologist, want the boys in prison. A
secret society, led by the high priest Semu (Richard Deacon), has been entrusted
to protect the sacred treasure of Klaris and seeks to recover the medallion.
And we mustn't forget the mummy Klaris, who is the true owner of the
medallion after all!
bedlam soon ensues with chase scenes galore.
Our boys get run all about town, and the pursuit eventually continues
within the cavernous lair of the mummy itself.
The goofy and madcap finale even has everyone chasing after each other,
including three mummies!
the way, there are many comedic highlights, including a rip-roaring burlesque
act at the very start. There is
also a repeating gag about Costello's snake-charming skills, and fans of the
boys' classic "Who's on First?" skit will find a variation on it in
this film, this time with a shovel and a pickax.
Another amusing variation, on a food-switching gag from the Abbott &
Costello film Pardon My Sarong, has
Costello eating the medallion by accident!
course, this wouldn't be an Abbott & Costello film without at least one
catchy song. So, there is a big
band tune smack in the middle of the film that gleefully ignores the shifting
tides on the rock 'n' roll musical scene and shifts the tone of this comedy back
to the heyday of the war-era musicals. A
couple of dance numbers involving Egyptian dancing girls also serve to brighten
this is still a "horror" film, so the recipe calls for some bats, a
skeleton, and even a giant scaly monster. Fans
of "serious" Universal mummy films may cringe at the undead monster's
undignified role in this film as pure comedic relief, but it still makes for a
very amusing stiff.
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy,
the boys would only star together in one more minor film (not produced by
Universal). In 1957, Bud Abbott and
Lou Costello would part ways amicably, bringing a close to one of the most
successful partnerships in film history. This
film is really their final graceful curtain call and a fine conclusion to a
wonderful showbiz career together.
from a bit of wear and tear early on, Abbott
and Costello Meet the Mummy looks quite decent. The image quality is sharp and detailed, and gray scale
levels are very reasonable. The
film is shown in its original black & white, full-frame format.
is a simple monophonic film and pretty much sounds like one.
The audio comes predominately from
the center speaker and is crisp if not particularly dynamic.
However, the sound quality is generally more than adequate, with only a
trace of background hiss.
is a trailer and brief production notes about the film.