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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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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Makers of The Mummy

The Makers of The Mummy

(p.43) Chapter 3. The Makers of The Mummy
The Mummy

Doris V. Sutherland

Liverpool University Press

This chapter evaluates the visual fields of direction, performances, and effects in the making of The Mummy (1932). While it was Richard Schayer and Nina Wilcox Putnam who laid out the earliest version of The Mummy's storyline, it was John L. Balderston who reworked it from a muddled mixture of magic and mad science to a narrative that defined a subgenre. The chapter considers Karl Freund's directorial approach to The Mummy. Freund's approach to the fantastic is subtle and understated; nowhere is this clearer than in the iconic prologue, where the mummy is largely out-of-shot following the initial close-ups of its opening eyes and languid arm movements. Many filmmakers would have shown the mummy's actions directly, but Freund understood that powerful images could be created through restraint, allowing the viewer's imagination to fill in the details. The chapter then looks at the performances of Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, and Edward Van Sloan. It also highlights the role of Universal Pictures' resident cosmetic genius, film make-up artist Jack Pierce.

Keywords:   The Mummy, John L. Balderston, Karl Freund, direction, Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, Edward Van Sloan, Jack Pierce, Universal Pictures

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