has been revived from the cinema graveyard many times over the decades, adding color and gore and CGI, but it all started with Boris Karloff and this tale of doomed love.
After Karloff became a star in Frankenstein
and the studio had an equally big hit with Dracula
, Universal tried to scare up another monster inspired by the 1920s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and its supposed curse. The result is this shivery 1932 tragedy of Imhotep, mummified alive as punishment for loving above his station. After being magically revived, he disguises himself as a modern Egyptian and decides that a certain beautiful woman is the reincarnation of his lost love. Trouble follows.
The big attraction, after Karloff’s initial mummy wrap-up, is the beautiful atmosphere of black-and-white melancholy conjured by photographer Charles Stumar and director Karl Freund, himself the photographer of Dracula and a master of baroque and otherworldly visuals. It seems odd that he ended up on I Love Lucy, a very different kind of classic. In conjunction with the exhibition “Egyptian Animal Mummies: Science Explores an Ancient Religion,” the San Antonio Museum of Art screens the film in its West Courtyard complete with a gallery talk, food-truck fare and a cash bar.
Free, Fri May 18, gallery talk at 7pm, film at sundown, San Antonio Museum of Art, 200 W. Jones Ave., (210) 978-8100, samuseum.org.
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