When it comes to comedy nowadays its practically solo effects, a movie might have two comedic stars in it, but they actually are more independent than a duo, and that is where the talents Bud Abbott and Lou Costello shined, they were and still are one of the most famous comedy teams of all time. It’s quite amazing how they used their skills whether using pratfalls, play-on-words, or innuendos which are still used in various productions of today, the veterans of comedic writing know and study their works very closely. Their films contain a formula within them Costello gets into some sort of mess and Abbott either doesn’t believe or blames him for everything. Nevertheless this brings us to the official last film of Abbott and Costello (their 28th) and last for Universal Pictures, their contract wasn’t renewed for various reasons, among them inner turmoil between the stars and the changing of comedy styles in cinema; however a compilation clip film emerged in 1965. While many recall the classic send-up Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein  and several other of the chance encounters with ghouls, ghosts, and other monsters this final production of Meet the Mummy sorely and sadly lacks in some categories. The story came from Lee Loeb (Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ) and transformed by screenwriter John Grant (Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet the Killer Boris Karloff  who thoroughly understood the famed duo having worked on several pictures, handled the script to director Charles Lamont (Francis in the Haunted House ) he milked the production for the best worn out gags for the audiences amusement.
As for the storyline it’s a tad light on substance but easy enough to understand, Peter Patterson (Abbott) and Freddie Franklin (Costello) as Americans are stranded in Egypt, however be forewarned the two leads never use the character names rather call each other by their given real names. Therefore Bud and Lou, seek money to return home, and need a job, any job to get the dough quickly, in steps Dr. Zoomer (Kurt Katch, no stranger to working Mummy films, such as The Mummy’s Curse  with bit part roles) who needs an ancient medallion artifact of Princess Ara transported safely to the United States. Unfortunately for the boys, the first villain Semu (Richard Deacon (Piranha )), needing the medallion so that their cult of Klaris can resurrect the Mummy (Edwin Parker (Tarantula )); noting the name change from Kharis of previous Universal Mummy films to the chosen name for this film. Then there’s a graverobber trio led by Rontru (Marie Windsor (Chamber of Horror ) lie in wake, to rid others from the treasures and are uncaring about curses. If one thinks of the same hilarity of their classic will arise, that sadly doesn’t occur with the same enthusiasm, it is tiresome, and the hardcore fans of this legendary team definitely notice, nonetheless it still works in a few well-honed sight and verbal gags. A series of chases ensues throughout the remainder of the film, which lags on some pacing, perhaps due to a weak story.
Among the gags which were quite memorable were the classic movement of a dead body, behind a desk, in the closet, bathroom and so on, and each time located by Costello, but moves by the time he returns with Abbott, the fans might note this routine from Meet the Killer Boris Karloff and Hold That Ghost . Then the usage of the classic switcheroo involving the moving of places back and forth between the pair while distracting the other from their attention at the dinner table, namely their plates, this ploy used in a few sitcoms over the years in some variation. Lastly, the wordplay involving tool-names “Pick” versus “Shovel” and when Abbott says “picks the shovel” instead Costello thinks he should take the pick because he says a pick, this verbal gag also comes into play with the phrasing of the mummy and Costello’s confusion over that word and mommy/daddy.
The film does contain a few faults, first the casting choices Richard Deacon, was a fine actor, however a tad too pale to portray an Egyptian cult leader, and strangely one character is named Charlie (Michael Ansara) and his role clearly indicates he should have a name more beneficial to his ever so minor role, now one might consider it nitpicking it’s the little things one discovers. A major problem is from the comedic team, their delivery is a tad bland, it conveys that the routine ran dry long ago, now they’re just there for a paycheck and of then their friendship was greatly strained, simply the laughter died, and what remained was a hollow performance. Although for Lamont, he knew how to bring the film to completion and had assistance from trusted cinematographer George Robinson, who had both the experience of working with Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  and Universal classic films such as Horror of Dracula  and Dracula’s Daughter .
It’s hard to criticize a film from this beloved comedic team, I can sit here now think back to their treasured “Who’s on First” routine, as well as the numerous pratfalls and wordplay gags, sharing a smile; but here they were on fumes. Often, they uplifted the audiences and Universal from dire moments, however this last movie, saw everything unraveling quickly, a relationship faulted, health issues, financial stress, and special magic vanishing faster than the sand in an hourglass. The humor, likely fulfilling the die-hard fans, but they’ll honestly admit there’s something truly missing from the overall finished product, that resides in the quality of humor.
- It’s Mummy’s Day for Bud and Lou! (poster).
- It has been said that a man’s best friend is his mummy…
- They’re back — in their mummy’s arms!
IMDb rating: 6.4/10
Baron’s Rating: 6.0/10