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  Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy Eejits In Egypt
Year: 1955
Director: Charles Lamont
Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor, Michael Ansara, Dan Seymour, Richard Deacon, Kurt Katch, Richard Karlan, Mel Welles, George Khoury, Eddie Parker
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Friends Bud Abbott (as himself) and Lou Costello (also playing himself) are in Egypt looking to find a job which will secure them enough cash to get back home to the States. In a nightclub, they settle down to watch the entertainment only to become part of it when one of the dancers lands on them, but they do recieve a word of a contact which Abbott believes will get them the money they desire. He is Dr Zoomer (Kurt Katch) who has an Ancient Egyptian artefact in his possession that he wishes transported, but what the boys don't know is that there are other parties interested...

Abbott and Costello meet the Mummy was the final film the famed duo made for Universal, the studio which had served them so well for the best part of two decades, and indeed had been served so well by them, as the comedians had frequently lifted the studio out of financial difficulty due to the popularity of their hit movies. It also marked the last of the horror spoofs they would make, as they had pretty much exhausted the ranks of villains provided by Universal, so it was fitting that the final one they should take a crack at would also be one which had proved a reliable moneyspinner for a few years.

The Mummy here was renamed Klaris instead of Kharis, presumably to distinguish it from the forties cycle of B movies, but possibly also because Lon Chaney Jr was not wrapped up in the costume, with stuntman Eddie Parker taking the role which let's face it, by this stage didn't call for much acting prowess. Besides, the title antagonist isn't actually in the film that much, with brief bits of business at the beginning and a more extended runaround for the finale as most of the plot was taken up with the routines of the stars, one of their regular scriptwriters John Grant taking care of that aspect.

In truth Abbott and Costello were starting to look worn around the edges by the time this film came out, so it was not perhaps a major shock that they only had one more film left in them as a team, Dance With Me, Henry, an effort regarded as their worst. After that they had one of their many disagreements, opted to split for good, Costello made one last movie before his untimely death and Abbott had sorry destitution to look forward to, reduced to placing begging ads in the newspapers in the hope his old fans would take pity on him. Better to remember them in this, then, as they still could knock out a good few laughs even if age was catching up with them, and here it may have a sense of the second hand, but it is surprisingly enjoyable.

This in spite of the reputation of a genre - the Universal monsters - and a team which were supposedly out of date. But both were finding new fans from the kids who caught their antics on television, which is probably why they all endure to this day, and not confined to stuffy film historians. In addition, cult B movie queen Marie Windsor showed up here as the main villainess, and although she simply goes through the motions required of her, you know the type of thing, order the henchmen about, mock-seduce Lou and so on, she does it with her customary professionalism. Costello ends up swallowing the medallion required to, er, do something mystical with the Mummy, which is all the excuse the baddies need to take him along to the hidden temple in the desert for the climactic chase, a cliché but so often used to pick up the pace in the latter stages. Not an embarrassment by any means (aside from maybe the Mummy costume), this was the duo's true swan song.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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