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The Mummy (1959) [Peter Cushing]

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The Mummy (1959) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux
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The Mummy (1959) starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Yvonne Furneaux


In The Mummy, three English archaeologists find the tomb of an Egyptian high priestess buried nearly four thousand years before. They discover a guard who had been buried alive with her. And will stop at nothing to protect her, and destroy the defilers of her tomb.


In many ways, Hammer Films’ version of The Mummy is refreshingly different. Unlike most of the Universal mummy movies, the mummy isn’t a near-mindless tool of some high priest. Instead, Christopher Lee‘s rendition of the Mummy is quite intelligent, and pursuing his own agenda. That agenda, however, is killing the defiler’s of Princess Ananka. He was in love with her, and will protect her even in death.

Peter Cushing spears Christopher Lee in The Mummy — which doesn’t even slow him down

One of those defilers (archeologists, really) is played by Peter Cushing. He’s a man who was injured in the expedition, whose father was driven insane by … something. And, in a Hollywood coincidence, his lovely wife (Yvonne Furneaux) is the spitting image of the dead princess. That, alone, saves Cushing’s life, when the mummy’s about to kill him.

Cast of characters

  • John Banning (Peter Cushing, The Curse of Frankenstein). The protagonist of the movie. His leg was injured during the archeological dig, and now walks with a limp. His father has been driven mad during the dig, as well. One bright spot in his life is his lovely wife. John is intelligent, and daring. He initially doesn’t believe in the Mummy’s return to life … until it begins murdering.
  • Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer, Ivanhoe). John’s father, driven mad during the dig by the mummy’s return to life. He’s been living in a sanitarium for years. However, he has a brief return to lucidity shortly before his death. And he uses that time to warn his son …
  • Kharis the Mummy (Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers). In life, Kharis was deeply in love with Princess Ananka. So much so that, after her death, he tried to use the forbidden Scroll of Life to revive her. Interrupted, and convicted, he was sentenced to being mummified while alive … And had his tongue cut out. Millennia later, he’s revived by John Banning’s reading of the scroll. And he will still protect Ananka.
  • Isobel Banning (Yvonne Furneaux, The Master of Ballantrae). John’s lovely, and loving, wife. She is a dead ringer for Princess Ananka. In fact, she plays Ananka in the flashback. And that similarity saves John’s life from Kharis’ attack … and endangers her life toward the end of the movie.
  • Inspector Mulrooney (Eddie Byrne, Mutiny on the Bounty). The police officer who doesn’t believe in this superstitious nonsense … Until he sees the indestructible mummy for himself.
  • Mehemet Bey (George Pastell, Konga, Doctor Who: Tomb of the Cybermen). The Egyptian, who brings Kharis into the country … and tries to control him.

Editorial review of The Mummy courtesy of

The Mummy is set in 1895. When three British archeologists — John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephen (Felix Aylmer), and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) — discover the tomb containing the body of the 4,000 year old mummy of Egyptian Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux), Stephen accidentally brings Kharis (Christopher Lee), the mummified high priest of Karnak, back to life when he reads from the Scroll of Life. It is Kharis’ duty to avenge anyone who dares to desecrate Ananka’s tomb.

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