The Eyes of the Mummy


1918

Brief Synopsis

In this silent film, an Egyptian priest terrorizes the Englishman who eloped with his priestess.

Film Details

Also Known As
Eyes of the Mummy, The
Genre
Horror
Silent
Release Date
1918
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures

Synopsis

In this silent film, an Egyptian priest terrorizes the Englishman who eloped with his priestess.

Film Details

Also Known As
Eyes of the Mummy, The
Genre
Horror
Silent
Release Date
1918
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures

Articles

The Eyes of the Mummy


The painter Albert Wendland is traveling in Egypt when he happens upon a beautiful but shy young Egyptian girl fetching water. Back at the hotel in Cairo with a group of European visitors, Prince Hohenfels expresses interest in visiting the burial tomb of Queen Ma; he is warned against it, since another European went and returned mad. When Albert attempts to question the victim, the man cries out, "The eyes are alive!" Disregarding the warning, Albert visits the tomb; there he meets Radu, an Egyptian who offers to give him a tour. When Wendland sees the living eyes (actually a person standing behind a door), he attempts to open the door but Radu tries to stand in his way. In the ensuing struggle Radu is shot. Behind the door Albert finds the frightened Ma, the same girl he saw fetching water; she tells how she was abducted by Radu and made his slave. Albert takes her with him to Europe. In the meanwhile, Prince Hohenfels finds the wounded Radu in the desert and takes him to Europe as well. Radu vows to find Ma, who is currently living with Wendland and performing as a dancer for a variety show. It is only a matter of time before Radu spots her and plans for a fateful confrontation.

The Eyes of the Mummy (1918), also known as The Eyes of the Mummy Ma, was the first full-length feature film of the great Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947). Son of a well-to-do Jewish tailor in Berlin, Lubitsch displayed an early aptitude for the theater, becoming an apprentice to the prestigious company of Max Reinhardt in 1911. He made his first appearances as a film actor in 1913, mainly in comic roles such as the clothiers apprentice Moritz Abramowsky in The Firm Marries (1914). Around the same time he started directing his own films, including the smash hit Shoe Salon Pinkus (1916), in which he also starred as the lustful shoe clerk. Other notable early films include When Four Do the Same (1917) and I Wouldn't Want to Be a Man (1918), subtle sexual farces that look forward to his mature style.

The Eyes of the Mummy was an early production of UFA (Universum Film Aktien Gesellschaft), a centralized company financed by the German state and large private investors. UFA absorbed several smaller production, distribution and exhibition firms, among them the German holdings of Nordisk (the Danish firm) and Projektions-Union AG, which Lubitsch was working for at the time under producer Paul Davidson. Several major stars also moved from Union to UFA, including Asta Nielsen, Emil Jannings and Pola Negri. When UFA was founded in 1917, the German film industry lagged behind many other countries in terms of feature film production. The resources UFA had amassed now permitted large-scale productions, among them Lubitsch's spectacular costume dramas Passion (Madame DuBarry, 1919) and Deception (Anne Boleyn, 1920), whose tremendous popularity helped Germany become a major force on the international scene.

The exotic setting and outsized melodramatics of The Eyes of the Mummy apparently resonated with German audiences, who were devastated by the effects of World War I. In little over a month after the film's October 3, 1918 premiere, revolution broke out on the streets of Berlin; Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and a Republican government was established. The film was not shown in the U.S. until 1922, after the American blockade against German films had ended and audiences had already been introduced to bigger and better Lubitsch films such as Passion. Variety dismissed the film as "another of those labored dime novel dramatic stories from the U.F.A. plant." However, the reviewer did praise Pola Negri's acting, particularly her show-stopping "exotic" dance scene.

It is hardly surprising that the Polish-born actress Pola Negri (1894-1987) made such an impression in the dance scene, for she had studied ballet in Poland before moving into stage acting. Her first great success on the German stage was Max Reinhardt's production of Sumurun (1916-1917), which Lubitsch adapted into a film in 1920 with her as the star. Negri's first film with Lubitsch was The Eyes of the Mummy; on the strength of that film's popular success the pair followed up with Gypsy Blood (Carmen, 1918) and Passion. The two later recalled their work together with great fondness. Lubitsch said of Negri: "I believe she was one of the most vital persons I have ever known, combining those two most important requisites--natural color (the art of being talked and written about) and a highly developed and sensitive artistic instinct." Negri said of Lubitsch: "What was impressive was the agility with which he expressed his often brilliant thoughts, and the witty manner in which he indicated that he was two steps ahead of anybody else in any intellectual gambit. A steady stream of eloquence flowed out around the cigar eternally planted between his lips."

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Screenplay: Hanns Kraly, Emil Rameau
Photography: Alfred Hansen
Set Design: Kurt Richter
Principal Cast: Pola Negri (Ma), Emil Jannings (Radu), Harry Liedtke (Albert Wendland), Max Laurence (Prince Hohenfels).
BW-64m.

by James Steffin
The Eyes Of The Mummy

The Eyes of the Mummy

The painter Albert Wendland is traveling in Egypt when he happens upon a beautiful but shy young Egyptian girl fetching water. Back at the hotel in Cairo with a group of European visitors, Prince Hohenfels expresses interest in visiting the burial tomb of Queen Ma; he is warned against it, since another European went and returned mad. When Albert attempts to question the victim, the man cries out, "The eyes are alive!" Disregarding the warning, Albert visits the tomb; there he meets Radu, an Egyptian who offers to give him a tour. When Wendland sees the living eyes (actually a person standing behind a door), he attempts to open the door but Radu tries to stand in his way. In the ensuing struggle Radu is shot. Behind the door Albert finds the frightened Ma, the same girl he saw fetching water; she tells how she was abducted by Radu and made his slave. Albert takes her with him to Europe. In the meanwhile, Prince Hohenfels finds the wounded Radu in the desert and takes him to Europe as well. Radu vows to find Ma, who is currently living with Wendland and performing as a dancer for a variety show. It is only a matter of time before Radu spots her and plans for a fateful confrontation. The Eyes of the Mummy (1918), also known as The Eyes of the Mummy Ma, was the first full-length feature film of the great Ernst Lubitsch (1892-1947). Son of a well-to-do Jewish tailor in Berlin, Lubitsch displayed an early aptitude for the theater, becoming an apprentice to the prestigious company of Max Reinhardt in 1911. He made his first appearances as a film actor in 1913, mainly in comic roles such as the clothiers apprentice Moritz Abramowsky in The Firm Marries (1914). Around the same time he started directing his own films, including the smash hit Shoe Salon Pinkus (1916), in which he also starred as the lustful shoe clerk. Other notable early films include When Four Do the Same (1917) and I Wouldn't Want to Be a Man (1918), subtle sexual farces that look forward to his mature style. The Eyes of the Mummy was an early production of UFA (Universum Film Aktien Gesellschaft), a centralized company financed by the German state and large private investors. UFA absorbed several smaller production, distribution and exhibition firms, among them the German holdings of Nordisk (the Danish firm) and Projektions-Union AG, which Lubitsch was working for at the time under producer Paul Davidson. Several major stars also moved from Union to UFA, including Asta Nielsen, Emil Jannings and Pola Negri. When UFA was founded in 1917, the German film industry lagged behind many other countries in terms of feature film production. The resources UFA had amassed now permitted large-scale productions, among them Lubitsch's spectacular costume dramas Passion (Madame DuBarry, 1919) and Deception (Anne Boleyn, 1920), whose tremendous popularity helped Germany become a major force on the international scene. The exotic setting and outsized melodramatics of The Eyes of the Mummy apparently resonated with German audiences, who were devastated by the effects of World War I. In little over a month after the film's October 3, 1918 premiere, revolution broke out on the streets of Berlin; Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated and a Republican government was established. The film was not shown in the U.S. until 1922, after the American blockade against German films had ended and audiences had already been introduced to bigger and better Lubitsch films such as Passion. Variety dismissed the film as "another of those labored dime novel dramatic stories from the U.F.A. plant." However, the reviewer did praise Pola Negri's acting, particularly her show-stopping "exotic" dance scene. It is hardly surprising that the Polish-born actress Pola Negri (1894-1987) made such an impression in the dance scene, for she had studied ballet in Poland before moving into stage acting. Her first great success on the German stage was Max Reinhardt's production of Sumurun (1916-1917), which Lubitsch adapted into a film in 1920 with her as the star. Negri's first film with Lubitsch was The Eyes of the Mummy; on the strength of that film's popular success the pair followed up with Gypsy Blood (Carmen, 1918) and Passion. The two later recalled their work together with great fondness. Lubitsch said of Negri: "I believe she was one of the most vital persons I have ever known, combining those two most important requisites--natural color (the art of being talked and written about) and a highly developed and sensitive artistic instinct." Negri said of Lubitsch: "What was impressive was the agility with which he expressed his often brilliant thoughts, and the witty manner in which he indicated that he was two steps ahead of anybody else in any intellectual gambit. A steady stream of eloquence flowed out around the cigar eternally planted between his lips." Director: Ernst Lubitsch Screenplay: Hanns Kraly, Emil Rameau Photography: Alfred Hansen Set Design: Kurt Richter Principal Cast: Pola Negri (Ma), Emil Jannings (Radu), Harry Liedtke (Albert Wendland), Max Laurence (Prince Hohenfels). BW-64m. by James Steffin

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