Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy Blu-ray Review

Mummification

There’s more intrigue to Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy than in any of the actual Mummy sequels. Swirling around a MacGuffin, the comedians accidentally outwit three sects of people seeking access to an Egyptian medallion. It’s barren, but has spirit.

The final act for Abbott & Costello under the Universal banner (and one of their last pairings ever) does come across as routine. Having matched wits with Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, and Jekyll & Hyde, Meet the Mummy is bound to be typical. Yet the notable talents and timing of these two comedy legends pull out a number of catchy gag sequences, from swapping hamburgers to a mistaken identity sequence with a trio of mummies.

Staying true to Universal’s brand of horror, Meet the Mummy has fun at the expense of the four film Kharis series. Reaching this point of a horror series is the finality, flush with strong self-parody and sly awareness. Costello’s fourth wall-breaking peeks at the audience ensure even kids can note the laughable phoniness.

Meet Frankenstein is quintessential; Meet the Mummy is the second day of leftovers

Although the well clearly runs dry by this outing – Meet the Mummy overspends on exposition without comedy – the highlights buck up the charm. Even the recycled “Who’s on first?” routine with a pick and shovel still works, if likely because the original remains flawless comedy.

Straight bit players break the total release of levity. Mari Windsor’s searing stares and Richard Deacon’s stoic underground cult leader do wonders to alleviate any dead air between bits. They help carry the B-level plot, full of escapist humor and plenty of smile-worthy nonsense.

Meet the Mummy has to meander. Abbott and Costello don’t get into a true mummy mix-up until the final act. There, longtime stuntman Eddie Parker is stuffed inside a frumpy mummy get-up, growling and arms reaching out, riffing on the inadequacy of Lon Chaney’s Kharis portrayal. Insulting to Chaney, maybe, but necessary considering his prosaic mummy performances.

In the end, Abbott and Costello make for easy watching pop entertainment, smooth, well executed, and carrying a bit of heart. Meet Frankenstein is quintessential; Meet the Mummy is made up of leftovers.

Video

Seemingly using an older, softer master, Meet the Mummy lacks resolution. It’s the biggest fault against this disc. As the “newest” of the original Mummy films, it’s oddly the weakest in terms of definition. Some of this comes down to the production itself. Obvious optical zooms and lazier focus diminished Meet the Mummy long before home video’s advent.

Other concerns lean on Universal. Grain reproduction struggles under guidance of the encode, particularly bothersome in shadows. A buzzing quality falls over the presentation, too obviously digital and not convincing as film.

Contrast and gray scale pan out though. Generally deep shadows match well with vivid contrast, pleasantly done. Fading doesn’t become a problem, and the print itself shows stunning resiliency for its age. Damage free, the film suffers no ill effects from decades of existence.

Audio

The none-too-challenging audio track of Meet the Mummy performs admirably. Clarity is high without any bothersome noise. The somewhat sparse studio sets add a natural echo to much of the dialog, definitively analog in its origin.

The few scoring cues come from Universal’s library, mostly reserved and under the action. They’re fine, rarely enough to sound bold or powerful by design.

Extras

Only the theatrical trailer.

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