Article 2883 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2009
Posting Date: 7-5-2009
Directed by Charles Lamont
Featuring Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marie Windsor
Two Americans get tangled up with a murdered Egyptologist, a sacred medallion, and a mummy.
This marks the final entry in my coverage of the Abbott and Costello monster movies, and possibly of my coverage of Abbott and Costello altogether (unless someone has classified WHO DONE IT as horror). This one is often dismissed as the weakest of the series, and I can see why; it feels cheaper and more rushed than the others, the timing isn't quite as sharp as it used to be, and for those who like the horror elements, they're sorely lacking here and the monster is lame. Still, I have a sneaking affection for it; it gives Bud and Lou a wider variety of humorous situations than they usually got in their horror comedies, and in some ways it's more similar to the non-horror comedies of the duo. I have favorite bits; I like Lou's encounter with a French dancer who manages to give him every chance to pick her up while acting offended, I also like the duo's attempt to get rid of the cursed medallion in the restaurant, and the "pick and shovel" routine is an abbreviated example of the type of verbal humor that made them famous in the first place. Unfortunately, there's also the tiresome moments where they try to milk humor from Lou being scared, and some of it seems particularly desperate this time. It also reprises other types of gags, including the old "bodies disappearing and reappearing" schtick. The script is fairly clumsy; they're given character names, but constantly refer to each other as Bud and Lou. The team was on its last legs here; they had one more movie together before the breakup.
At heart, I don't think movies really caught the duo at their best; their verbal routines developed in vaudeville were their forte, and despite all the movies they made, they will probably be best remembered for the "Who's on First" routine. Still, I'm glad they made the movies; without them, they would probably be largely forgotten nowadays. At least many of the high points of their career can be relived in the various clips from the movies.