Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955) starring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor, Richard Deacon
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is both a very funny comedy. It’s also a respectful Universal Monsters entry in the Mummy series. The Mummy is is following the same typical formula. A former high priest Kharis (renamed to Klaris here for no reason) has been cursed to never-ending life for his forbidden love for an Egyptian princess. In this entry, the Mummy can be controlled by a mystical amulet. Which accidentally falls into the possession of Abbott and Costello.
There are two different factions feuding over the Mummy. One is led by the current high priest of the (mythical) cult of Karnak. Played by Richard Deacon, remembered for his role of Mel Cooley on The Dick van Dyke Show). The other is a group of fortune hunters led by Madame Rontru (Marie Windsor).
Bud and Lou, stranded in the Middle East, unwittingly get caught in the middle. Bud’s trying to make a buck if possible, and Lou trying simply to say alive.
Editorial Review of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy courtesy of Amazon.com
After 15 years of hit movies for Universal Studios, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello left the studio in the twilight of their partnership with the last of their monster comedies. Decked out in desert safari gear, the boys go looking for a job with an Egyptologist and wind up in the middle of a conspiracy concerning the murdered professor, an ancient mummy, and a magical medallion that, true to form, bumbling Costello manages to eat for dinner.
Marie Windsor, the boss lady of a gang of treasure hunting crooks, dresses in a harem outfit to vamp for our chubby little hero, and the eternally stiff Richard Deacon hilariously plays the leader of an Egyptian mummy cult like a high school principal decked out for Halloween. Directed by longtime collaborator Charles Lamont, it’s a typical Abbott and Costello farce with disappearing corpses, mistaken identities, and wacky word plays (“Take your pick” riffs on “Who’s on first” with garden tools).
While not as clever or spirited as their original monster mash Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the vaudeville veterans are still masters of the double take and fast-talk patter. A nd the picture climaxes with a screwball chase that involves not one, not two, but three mummies skittering through the phoniest looking pyramid this side of community theater. You were expecting realism? The boys appeared together once more on film, in Dance with Me, Henry, and then split up. —Sean Axmaker
[Editor’s note. Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy is available as part of The Best of Abbott and Costello, Volume 4
Cast of characters
- Bud Abbott … Pete Patterson
- Lou Costello … Freddie Franklin
- Marie Windsor (The Day Mars Invaded Earth, Cat-Women of the Moon) … Madame Rontru. The head of the group of fortune hunters, looking for the treasure.
- Michael Ansara (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,The Manitou) … Charlie. One of Rontru’s men. Later, he disguises himself as a mummy, leading the the mummy mixup towards the end.
- Dan Seymour (To Have and Have Not, Key Largo) … Josef
- Richard Deacon (The Dick Van Dyke Show, Critic’s Choice) … Semu. The leader of an Egyptian mummy cult. Seriously!
- Kurt Katch (The Mummy’s Curse) … Dr. Gustav Zoomer. Egyptologist, murdered by Semu’s men, Iben and Hetsut, over the Mummy.
- Richard Karlan (The Little Shop of Horrors 1960) … Hetsut
- Mel Welles (Attack of the Crab Monsters) … Iben
- George Khoury … Habid
- Eddie Parker … Klaris
- Mazzone-Abbott Dancers … Dance Troupe
- Chandra Kaly and His Dancers … Dance Troupe
- Peggy King … Vocalist
Trivia for Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955)
- Ignoring their character names, Bud and Lou addressed each other by their own, real names (“Heeeeey Abbott!”) throughout much of the picture.
- This was Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s last film for Universal.
- In this film, the name of the mummy has been changed from “Kharis” to “Klaris.”
- Lou Costello had been suffering from a recurrence of rheumatic fever prior to filming, hence his slightly sickly appearance.
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[Updated September 12, 2023]