Preserved on film: The Mummy, silent cinema and Egyptomania

Glynn, Basil ORCID logoORCID: (2004) Preserved on film: The Mummy, silent cinema and Egyptomania. In: Screen Studies Conference, 2nd-4th July 2004, University of Glasgow. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


This paper examines the ways in which the figure of the mummy featured in the silent cinema until its first appearance in sound with Boris Karloff’s The Mummy in 1932. It provides a historical account of the emergence of a thriving mummy sub-genre that began in 1899 and peaked in the late teens and early twenties. It then examines how the various mummy films reflected the social and cultural spheres of the period. In doing so, my paper firstly explore the generic evolution of the sub-genre and then its rapid diffusion and decline following the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Secondly, it ponders the question as to why public fascination with the discovery, so apparent in Britain and America during the Egyptomania craze, was not capitalised upon in the cinema. It concludes by pointing out that critics such as Antonia Lant and Tom Hutchinson are incorrect in their assertions that Tutankhamun’s discovery gave a boost to the mummy genre. Instead, I argue, the controversies it raised actually hindered and for a decade killed off what had once been a hugely popular figure in the cinema.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media
Item ID: 18068
Depositing User: Basil Glynn
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2015 10:10
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2019 12:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.