This film directed by the great Ernst Lubitsch is alleged to be the first mummy horror film although, except for the title, there is no mummy! The plot is wildly convoluted. An art student in Egypt goes to an ancient tomb to find the Priestess Ma, played by Pola Negri. Ma is being held as a slave by an Arab (played by Emil Jannings) who is beaten up by the student who then liberates Ma and takes her back to Germany. The Arab nearly dies in the desert but is rescued by a wandering German prince to whom he swears to serve for life. The Arab is then taken to Germany where Ma has become a sensation as a hoochie koochie dancer. The exotic dance (in the style of Theda Bara doing yoga) is silly, but we get the idea. The Arab master discovers her and in a fit of revenge kills her and then himself. And no mummy!
Negri and Jannings were major stars of European silent films, and both came to the U.S. (as did Lubitsch) with great success. Negri played exotic vamps until the coming of sound and then returned to Europe. Jannings won the first Best Actor Oscar for The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh but is best remembered as the tragic professor in The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich. Like Negri, Jannings soon returned to Europe with the coming of sound.
Lubitsch would have great success in Hollywood, directing such films as The Smiling Lieutenant, The Love Parade, Trouble in Paradise, Ninotchka, and To Be or Not To Be. Lubitsch is also credited with discovering Jeanette MacDonald, who starred in several of his early talkies.
This DVD of The Eyes of the Mummy uses new title cards with red backgrounds. The spelling errors are very odd, including the credits that list Ma as being played by "Pola Negi." The film boasts some good music and nice tints (very common in silent films) in varying shades of sepia, blue, and lavender.
Also on this quality DVD is a 1915 comedy short titled, His Luckless Love, starring Tom Kennedy. It has some funny moments as confusion surrounds the maidís new beau.
aka Augen der Mumie Ma, Die
Black and White, 65 minutes DVD 1918
Starring: Pola Negri, Emil Jannings, Max Laurence
Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Vendor #: GPV
Our Price: $14.99
Package: Printed Sleeve