The mummy’s legacy of 1932 explained

No one should go to monster movies to learn history – their job is to entertain and scare audiences. Nonetheless, it’s always fun to see how precise and inaccurate a story linked to the ancient past can be. Regarding “The Mummy” of 1932, some evidence suggests that the Egyptians may have believed in mummies that could rise from the dead. In his contribution to the book “Box Office Archeology: Refining Hollywood’s Portrayals of the Past” – in particular, his article “Unwrapping the Mummy: Hollywood Fantasies, Egyptian Realities” – Professor Stuart Tyson Smith writes: “The idea of ​​mobile mummies n was not entirely foreign to ancient Egypt. The papyrus recounting “The Story of Setna Khaemwas and the Mummies” was purchased for the Boulaq Museum (now the Egyptian Museum in Cairo) on the then legal antiques market circa 1865. “

The remarkably complex story shares a number of plot elements with ‘The Mummy’ … and most likely served as the inspiration for screenwriter John Balderston, who, as a journalist, covered the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and was well acquainted with Egyptology, ”Prof. Smith continued. “In it, Setna tries to steal the cursed book of Thoth from a tomb and collides with Naneferkaptah’s mummy and the spirits of his wife and child. Setna ignores their account of the dire consequences of their sacrilege. in possession of the parchment, which was placed in their grave to keep it away from mortals. “

Setna then realized his mistake and made amends by bringing back the parchment. To further make up for her mistake, Setna agrees to return Naneferkaptah’s mummy along with her family’s remains. In a moment “very similar to the scene with Karloff’s mummy,” Smith writes, “Naneferkaptah appears as an old man and leads Setna to the graves of her loved ones. “

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