The Eyes of the Mummy (1918)

Article #356 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 3-6-2002
Posting date: 7-23-2002

An explorer saves a woman from an evil Egyptian who is holding her prisoner.

One of the problems of doing a comprehensive review of fantastic cinema is that you have to face up to the fact that some movies just haven’t been prepared for English-speaking people. All the title cards in this silent are in German, and though I have a little familiarity with the language thanks to my dim and distant high school education, I could hardly call myself fluent in the language. Thus, it’s actually a bit hard to say whether this melodrama about obsession actually belongs to fantastic cinema or not; the Emil Jannings character may be a mummy, but nothing I’ve seen makes that a definite. He’s not swathed in bandages, though he does seem to have a certain hypnotic power over the Pola Negri character. I also remember a comment from yesterday by Henry Nicolella that the Pola Negri character is, in fact, the mummy; someday when I get a version of this with English titles, I’ll sort it out. At this point, I think the title is the main thing that contributes to this movie being thought of as horror; right now I think of it rather as fatalistic melodrama with a slight horror backdrop. Incidentally, this was an early film by Ernst Lubitsch, better known for his sophisticated comedies of the thirties.

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