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The Mummy$
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Doris V. Sutherland

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325956

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325956.001.0001

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From Cagliostro to Imhotep: The Writing Process

From Cagliostro to Imhotep: The Writing Process

(p.29) Chapter 2. From Cagliostro to Imhotep: The Writing Process
The Mummy

Doris V. Sutherland

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines how The Mummy (1932) took shape at Universal Pictures, and the significant transformations that it underwent along the way. When Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun's tomb in November of 1922, he started a wave of cultural enthusiasm for all things ancient Egyptian. ‘Tutmania’ had peaked by the start of the 1930s, but it was sufficiently fresh in the public mind for Universal's head of production, Carl Laemmle Jr., to sense a commercial opportunity. And so, in early 1932, Laemmle decided that Universal's next horror film would have an Egyptian theme. The first requirement was to produce a plot, and Laemmle handed this assignment to a pair of writers: Universal scenario department head Richard Schayer, and established novelist Nina Wilcox Putnam. They responded with a nine-page synopsis entitled Cagliostro. Despite its glaring differences from the finished product, the synopsis planted the seed for what would become The Mummy.

Keywords:   The Mummy, Universal Pictures, Tutmania, ancient Egypt, Carl Laemmle Jr., Richard Schayer, Nina Wilcox Putnam, Cagliostro

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