Plot: A team of American archaeologists have traveled to the barren sands of Egypt, in search of the legendary tomb of Ananka. Among the team is Steve Banning (Dick Foran) and his partner Jenson (Wallace Ford), who might be out of work most of the time, but they’ve kept their sense of humor, without a doubt. The two somehow manage to uncover some evidence that the tomb does exist, which means some funds are needed to continue, but the cash is about to become plentiful, thanks to an outside source. The money comes from The Great Solvani (Cecil Kellaway), a strange magician and his gorgeous daughter, Marta (Peggy Moran). So armed with their extensive funding, the team sets out into the deserts, but find themselves under attack, from an evil high priest (Eduardo Ciannelli) and Kharis (Tom Tyler), the living mummy who protects Ananka’s tomb.
Entertainment Value: This had to be a tall order, to follow in the footsteps of Universal’s classic The Mummy, but The Mummy’s Hand sidesteps some of that pressure, as it isn’t a direct sequel. Of course, the movie mines a similar vein as the original, so it feels a little familiar, but it is in essence a different tale that happens to include a mummy, told with some classic Universal elements. The tone is lighter this time around, at least in some scenes and I think the comic relief works, as this isn’t the same eerie, atmospheric chiller as the original. I also like that the mummy is always a mummy in this one and the look of the monster is quite cool, with Tom Tyler under the wraps and he is able to radiate a sense of menace. The movie runs barely an hour and doesn’t delve too deep, even borrowing some touches from other Universal movies, so this does have a bit of a rushed, patchwork feel from time to time. But if you want a passable mummy movie with some old school texture, The Mummy’s Hand is decent and doesn’t ask for much of your time.
The original movie had some terrific performances, but this sequel can’t say the same, perhaps due to the lighter approach to the material. As I mentioned, Tom Tyler is quite effective as Kharis and has the looming, shambling persona down well. I think he is a fine mummy and adds a lot to the movie, to me easily the most memorable aspect of The Mummy’s Hand. The rest of the cast is fine, though no one is that great or overly memorable, just kind of there in passable roles. Dick Foran is the lead more or less and does well with what he’s given, though there isn’t much spark in the romance thread he shares with Peggy Moran. I suppose it is just supposed to be a light addition to the movie however, so no harm done. Wallace Ford has a solid part and is the source of most of the humor, so he brings some additional entertainment value. The cast also includes George Zucco, Charles Trowbridge, and Eduardo Ciannelli.