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Germany, 1920

Fritz Kortner, Sadiah Gezza, Ernst Hoffmann
Directed by F.W. Murnau


Three episodes depicting Satan's intervention during different periods of history. The first episode "The Tirant" features Amenhotep, the Pharoh of Egypt who is in love with Nouri, a young slave who plays the harp. The hermit of Elu attempts to help Nouri by finding the woman who, as a child, Nouri had saved from being unjustl y stoned to death. Finally the hermit transforms into Lucifer, a vast angel of death who goes through the palace crushing beneath his scorn the mediocrity of mortals.

Le Perle di Cleopatra
Italy, 1920

Carlo Aldini, Fernanda Negri Pouget
Directed by Guido Brignone


Der Schädel der Pharaonentochter
Germany, 1920

Emil Jannings, Erna Morena, Kurt Vespermann
Directed by Otz Tollen


France, 1920

Directed by Louis Feuillade


Telling of the biblical exodus, starting between the ninth and tenth plague, made by the Gaumont studios in France.

Italy, 1920

Attilio de Virgiliis, Ettore Mazzanti, Fabbris, Dedy D'Alteno
Directed by Romolo Bacchini


Silent version of the story of Joseph that was accompanied by fitting music (at the time played on the theatre organ or by a small orchestra) by italian composer and priest Giocondo Fino. Fino had studied 'oriental languages' and theology before turning to music. He wrote several operas for the theatre, some liturgical works and also composed music to accompany several biblical films.

The Lure of Egypt
USA, 1921

Claire Adams, William Lion West, Joseph J. Dowling
Directed by Howard C. Hickman


Just when an egyptologist's research money runs out, a rich but wicked oriental prince becomes interested in his daughter and offers to finance the stalled project.

Das Rätsel der Sphinx
Germany, 1921

Ellen Richter, Erich Kaiser-Titz, Karl Günther
Directed by Adolf Gärtner


No details about the story are known, but it features characters such as "Amru, an Egyptian", "Prof. Grey, British Museum" and the "mummy of king Menes".

Cleopatra, die Herrin des Nils
Germany, 1921

Asta Nielsen


Das Weib des Pharao
Germany, 1922

Emil Jannings, Dagny Servaes, Paul Wegener
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch


Pharaoh Amenes loves the slave girl Theonis, but his romance and country are threatened by the possibility of war. When the Ethiopian King Samlak tries for a truce, he brings his daughter as a wife for Amenes. Samlak is enraged when the rival king marries the slave girl, and the two countries are plunged into war over the subsequent rejection of Samlak's daughter. (based on a summary from www.checkout.com)

The German film "Das Weib des Pharao" was one of the most expensive productions of its time. This was largely due to the vast number of props and stages that had to be built, among them an Egyptian village with more than 50 houses, several temples and a high town-wall. This caused the production to extend for an unusually long time. From the film’s initial conception to its premiere took seven months, a period in which director Lubitsch would normally have shot at least three or four movies. The film's impressive shots include big battle scenes between Egyptians and Ethiopians, with thousands of extras playing the soldiers of both sides. The German cinema magazine "Der Kinematograph" reported in the December 1921 issue that some 250,000 Berlin schoolchildren and their teachers were invited to visit the set to study Egyptian culture after filming was finished. After its release, the film was distributed to various countries in Europe and was highly praised. For the US market a shortened version was issued under the title "The Loves of Pharaoh". Among the scenes that were cut was the stoning of Ramphis and Theonis at the end of the film, to give the Americans the necessary happy ending.

Always the Woman
USA, 1922

Doris Pawn, Betty Compson, Emory Johnson
Directed by Arthur Rosson


A Cairo-bound steamer has among its passengers Reginald Stanhope, a wealthy playboy; vaudeville dancer Celia Thaxter and her manager, Gregory Gallup, who together are maneuvering Reginald into marrying Celia; Herbert Boone, a drug addict, and his nagging wife, Adele; Kelim Pasha, an Egyptian prince who attracts Adele's affections; and Mahmud, an Egyptian ascetic who insists that Celia and Boone are the reincarnations of the ancient Egyptian queen and priest who sacrificed themselves for their love and that he himself is the reincarnation of the priest who betrayed her. Upon their arrival, the group sets out across the desert in search of the queen's legendary treasure. Kelim Pasha discloses his evil designs on Celia and the treasure and brings the whole party under his power; Reginald admits that he is only an agent of Kelim Pasha, leaves for help, and dies; a rehabilitated Boone shows his love for Celia and tries to protect her. When they arrive at the queen's tomb, Mahmud reveals that there is no treasure but rather atonement for the queen; Kelim Pasha falls to his death in a pit; a grief-stricken Adele falls after him; and Celia and Boone are left free to pursue their happiness. (source: AFI)

Beyond the Rocks
USA, 1922

Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson
Directed by Sam Wood


Long considered a "lost" film until a copy was discovered in the Netherlands in 2000, this romantic melodrama teams silent cinema legends Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino for the first and only time. The story follows a poor girl (Swanson) whose betrothal to a wealthy older man is the cross she must bear, until she meets and falls in love with the dashing and aristocratic Valentino while on her honeymoon. The sweeping love story travels from England to the Swiss Alps, Paris, and the Sahara desert. There are even two historic flashbacks, one to pre-guillotine Versailles and one to ancient Egypt, which offer yesteryear examples of affairs of the heart. Based on the 1906 novel by Elinor Glyn.

The Ten Commandments
USA, 1923

Theodore Roberts
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille


The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco (!). Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral.

The exodus was actually filmed in California at Nipomo Dunes near Pismo Beach, where its sand dunes provided an Egyptian looking desert. After filming the massive set of four 35 foot tall Pharaoh statues, 21 sphinxes, and gates reaching a height of 110 feet, were dismantled and buried in the sand. The remains of this site were discovered again in 1983, and in 1988 'DeMille's lost city' passed into the hands of The Nature Conservancy. Hollywood Heritage offered its non-profit sponsorship and in 1990 Bank of America, who had originally sponsored the movie back in 1923, provided a grant for an archaeological survey.

The Dancer of the Nile
USA, 1923

Sam de Grasse, Bertram Grassby, June Eldridge
Directed by William P.S. Earle


An Egyptian princess falls in love with Karmet, prince of a neighboring kingdom, who loves Arvia, a dancing girl. The princess orders Arvia killed, but Arvia's father, a high priest, saves her for Karmet. The princess finds another prince and marries him. (source: AFI)

Originally titled "Tutankhamun", which became "The Dancer of the Nile" because apparently too many people were tired of hearing the king's name.

Cleopatra and Her Easy Mark
USA, 1923

Directed by Frank A. Nankivell, Richard M. Friel, W. E. Stark


An early example of color (!) animation.

King Tut-Ankh-Amen's Eighth Wife
USA, 1923

Directed by Andrew Remo


Tragedy pursues those who violated the tomb of a pharaoh.

Silent film.

In the land of Tout Ankh Amon
في بلاد توت عنخ أمون

Egypt, 1923

Aristide Hughes Andréa, John Marbert, Fawzi Mounib, Yolande Wiriss
Directed by Victor Rosito (فيكتور روسيتو)


Silent film. The film narrates the events of discovering the Tomb of Tutankhamun.

Tut-Tut and his Terrible Tomb
UK, 1923

Queenie Thomas, Frank Stanmore
Directed by Bertram Phillips


This comedy, a spoof on the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun a year earlier in 1922, has multiple mummies running around.

Austria, 1923

Lixie Scott, Raymond Dandy, Renée Soeré
Directed by Raymond Dandy (Raymond Frau)

With the wave of Egyptomania that exploded after December 1922 and the news of the discovery of the unviolated tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamen, multi-talent Raymond Dandy did not miss the opportunity to sketch a parody. The film was sold in France, Belgium, Britain, Spain, and Italy. Directed by Dandy himself, the film also featured Karl Leiter. Known under the pseudonym of Länglich, Leiter was one of the most active Austrian comics in the silent period, and Dandy found in him the ideal shoulder for his only Austrian feature film. Directed in the Viennese Listo studio, it also offered dance numbers performed by Renée Soeré. Particular attention was paid to the costumes and grandiose sets designed by Hans André. (adapted summary from the catalog Il Cinema Ritrovato 2006, Bologna)

Tu Ten Kámen
Czechoslovakia, 1923

Anny Ondráková, Eman Fiala, Rolf Passer
Directed by Karl Anton


Czech comedy. The only thing known about this movie is the fact that it features a character called Ne'er-do-well and a 'Fake Egyptologist'. The movie's full Czech title is "Tu ten kámen aneb Kterak láskou mozno v mziku vzplanout treba k neboztíku", or "Tutankhamen: How to Have Love Flame on the Spot, even for the Deceased".

Felix Gets Broadcasted
USA, 1923

TV-series Felix the Cat

Directed by Otto Messmer


Felix is transported to ancient Egypt after being tossed onto some power lines by an angry fisherman. (source: IMDb)

Episode from the early classical animated series "Felix the Cat", based on a cartoon character.

Tu ten kámen aneb Kterak láskou mozno v mziku vzplanout treba k neboztíku
Czechoslovakia, 1923

Rolf Passer, Vlasta Burian, Anny Ondra
Directed by Karel Anton


Miloš, assistant to a famous Egyptologist, is secretly in love with the Aenny, the daughter of his master. For him she refuses another suitor called Mr. Fridolín. When the two scientists discover the lost tomb of pharaoh Tu Ten Kámen and prepare to present the mummy to the town of Zelená Lhota, Fridolín steals it and claims it was he who made the find. In the end Miloš manages to uncover the fraud and thus wins the favour of his father-in-law to be.

Czech silent comedy that was quick to respond to the new discovery at the time of the tomb of boy-king Tutankhamen by using the namen Tu Ten Kámen for one of its characters. Translated the rather long title means "Tutankhamen - How love can flame in an instant, even for the dead". The film is so far considered to be lost.

Lawful Larceny
USA, 1923

Nita Naldi, Conrad Nagel, Hope Hampton
Directed by Allan Dwan


Young wife saves her husband from ruin when she manages to retrieve a cheque for a large sum of money that was given by him to a couple of fraudsters.

This now lost movie contained a short prologue where the protagonist wife (played by 1920s vamp Nita Naldi) is portrayed as an Egyptian queen, so that in the main story she is perceived as a modern-day Cleopatra.

The Shepherd King
USA, 1923

Violet Mersereau, Virginia Lucchetti, Edy Darclea
Directed by J. Gordon Edwards


"Old King Tut would marvel at The Shepherd King."

American silent religious film based on the 1904 Broadway play The Shepherd King by Wright Lorimer (1874-1911) and Arnold Reeves (1870-1935). It tells the biblical story of David, who defeats the Phillistines and becomes king. Though this biblical story is not set in Egypt, the advertising for this film shows the sphinx and the pyramids at Giza and ran the tagline "King Tut would marvel at The Shepherd King". Unfortunately, no prints survive today to be able verify it actutally had any ancient Egyptian content. The King Shepherd had direct competition from Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments from the same year, which tells the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt and was more successful.

The Shadow of Egypt
UK, 1924

John F. Hamilton, Alma Taylor, Joan Morgan
Directed by Sidney Morgan


A European adventurer tries to steal items from an ancient Egyptian tomb, only to become afflicted by a myserious curse. He is saved by the devotion of two Egyptians whose allegiance he has earned by various causes.

Remarkably for the time, the film was partly shot on location in Egypt.

Die Sklavenkönigin
Austria/Hungary, 1924

Adolf Weisse, María Corda, Adelqui Migliar, Arlette Marchal
Directed by Mihaly Kertész


At the time of the biblical Exodus from the land of Egypt, young israelite slave Merapi (also called 'Moon of Israel' because of her beauty) falls in love with Seti, the son of pharaoh Meremptah.

Based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard. Also known as "The Slave Queen" and "Moon of Israel". One of director Kertész last Austrian works before he left for Hollywood in 1926, where as Michael Curtiz he had success with films like Captain Blood (1936), The Charge of the Light Brigade(1936) and the classics Casablanca (1942) and Mildred Pierce (1945). In 2004 the film, which was lost for many years, was restored to the original 103 minutes from a nitrate copy in the British Film Institute.

Tut! Tut! King
USA, 1924

Neely Edwards, Bert Roach
Directed by William Watson


Comedy short with actors Neely Edwards and Bert Roach dressed as ancient Egyptians.

USA, 1924

Laura La Plante, Edward Hearn
Directed by Robert F. Hill


Newlywed Nila Drew is cured of thrill-seeking when she is finally rescued by her husband after being kidnaped, stuffed into a mummy case, and shipped to an Egyptian who calls her the Queen of pharaoh and threatens to put her back into the tomb. Her husband, Arthur, arrives in time to save her and reveals that it was all a trick to cure Nila of her desire for excitement. (source: AFI)

A Carl Laemmle production. Laemmle was a pioneer in American film making and a founder of the major studio Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company.

The Fortieth Door
USA, 1924

Anna May Wong, Frank Lackteen, Allene Ray, Bruce Gordon
Directed by George B. Seitz


An archaeologist working in Egypt falls in love with a girl who turns out to be the daughter of a missing French general. Ultimately, the young man is forced to hide his love by wrapping her up in the bandages of a mummy he has found to protect her from her stepfather.

10 part serial by Pathé, loosely based on the 1920 Mary Hastings Bradley novel. A reduced 6 episode version entitled "The 40th Door" ran in cinemas outside the US. Such serials were short chapters of a larger story shown in theaters in conjunction with a feature film. Each chapter would be screened at the same theater for one week or at different days of the week and would end with a cliffhanger, so that audiences would have to come back again to see how it continued.

Die Rache der Pharaonen
Austria, 1925

Henry Roberts, Maria Palma, Benno Smytt
Directed by Hans Theyer

The title suggests this film has something to do with the curse of the pharaoh's. No further details available.

His Majesty, Bunker Bean
USA, 1925

Matt Moore, David Butler, Dorothy Devore
Directed by Harry Beaumont


Bunker Bean, a poor clerk completely lacking in ambition, is convinced by two phony clairvoyants that he is the reincarnation of Ram Tah, an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Feeling his own worth for the first time in his life, Bunker buys a phony mummy from the clairvoyants and starts to romance Marie Breede, the beautiful young daughter of his employer. She proposes to him, and they become engaged; but when Bunker's dog tears apart the mummy and reveals it to be a fake, Bunker loses his confidence and wants to call off the nuptials. He keeps his head, however, and gets into a fight with Bert Hollins, his rival for Marie's affections. Bunker wins the fight and, with renewed confidence, prepares to marry Marie, assured of her love and of her father's approval. (source: AFI)

Remade in 1936 with an early role for Lucille Ball. The 1936 version, however, has no Egyptian trappings and is therefore not listed here.

USA, 1925

Betty Blythe, Carlyle Blackwell, Mary Odette
Directed by Leander De Cordova, G.B. Samuelson


A team of explorers discover a lost world deep in the African jungle ruled over by Egyptian queen Ayesha, "She who must be obeyed". She gained her power and immortality by stepping into a flame of supposed eternal life.

Classic mystical adventure, based on the 1887 novel "She" by H. Rider Haggard. Several film versions of this novel exist (listed here are those of 1911 and 2001), but this one appears to be the least objectionable for lovers of Haggard's work. Notable are Betty Blythes rather see-through garments and the fact that she did her scene bathing in the pillar of fire in the nude! Some scenes were partly hand-colored.

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
USA, 1925

Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy, Carmel Myers
Directed by Fred Niblo


A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned.

The film features a female character called Iras the Egyptian. Cleopatra-like in appearance, she is a vamp and evil seductress who tries to lure Ben-Hur into revealing his identity to her before the important chariot race. Her dangerous sexual presence contrasts effectively with the innocence of the Esther character, Ben-Hur's true love interest.

Made for Love
USA, 1926

Leatrice Joy, Edmund Burns, Bertram Grassby
Directed by Paul Sloane


Nicholas Ainsworth, a young American archeologist, discovers in Egypt the lost tomb of two lovers, Princess Herath and Aziru. He is so engrossed in his work that he neglects his wife, Joan, who carries on flirtations with an Englishman, an American, and a Frenchman. An Egyptian prince, a tomb robber, gives Nicky a book recounting the story of the two lovers and warns him of the curse laid upon the tomb by a pharaoh in 2000 B. C. Joan is captured by Bedouins but is rescued by the prince. Nicky misinterprets the situation and angrily accuses Joan of running off with the prince, whereupon she leaves Nicky and accepts the attentions of the prince. Joan learns that Nicky has returned to the tomb and rides to warn him of the curse. Both are trapped when the tomb is sealed by an explosion. The prince is killed by a falling rock at the moment he clears a passage for them. Nicky realizes his love for Joan, and they are reunited. (source: AFI)

Produced by DeMille Pictures; Cecil B. DeMille himself acts as presenter.

Dinky Doodle in Egypt
USA, 1926

Directed by Walter Lantz


Animation short. Part of a series that combined live-action sequences with the animated adventures of a young button-eyed boy named Dinky Doodle and his faithful dog, Weakheart. Director Walter Lantz, here still in his early career, would later create the famous animated cartoon character Woody Woodpecker.

Mummy Love
USA, 1926

Alyce Ardell, Neely Edwards
Directed by Marcel Perez


Members of an archaeological party drees up as mummies to be able to escape from an ancient tomb.

Comedy short (2 reels).

Mummy o' Mine
USA, 1926

Directed by Charles R. Bowers, Bud Fisher


Odd couple Mutt and Jeff are in Egypt in search of Mutt's pharaoh ancestor. When they reach the pyramid, to fool the guards they have to go through some crazy antics by switching mummies and wrapping Jeff up in one.

Animated version of the popular American newspaper comic strip "Mutt and Jeff ", first created by cartoonist Bud Fisher in 1907 and commonly regarded as the first daily comic strip. In 1916 Fisher licensed the comic for animation to pioneers Charles Bowers and Raoul Barré of the Barré Studio. They released more than 300 animated Mutt and Jeff shorts in a period of 11 years.

The Love of Sunya
USA, 1927

Gloria Swanson
Directed by Albert Parker


In ancient Egypt, an evil priest drove a pure maiden to suicide. In today's reincarnation, to free himself the priest must find and help the maiden...now a young American singing student, Sunya Ashling, who is torn between pursuing a career in European opera, going to South America with fiancée Paul, or saving her father from financial ruin by marrying wealthy Robert Goring. The ancient priest, reincarnated as a gypsy vagabond, grants her visions of her future life if she should follow each of the three roads. Does each have a fatal drawback? (source: IMDb)

USA, 1927

TV-series Felix the Cat


Felix tries to get into a snooty nightclub, and is told that only people of "unquestioned lineage" are allowed in. Felix then relates his family history, including how his ancestors taught the Egyptian pharaohs how to do the Charleston and another one who showed Columbus that the world was round. In the end, Felix brings his family tree--literally--into the club to prove his lineage. (source: IMDb)

Episode from the early classical animated series "Felix the Cat", based on a cartoon character.

USA, 1928

Robert Ellis, Dorothy Revier
Directed by Roy William Neill


Early 20 minute synchronized sound film.

Cleo to Cleopatra
USA, 1928

Daphne Pollard


Comedy. Early sound film (Western Electric Vitaphone sound-on-disk).

An Egyptian Gyp
USA, 1929

A rather disjointed short finds an explorer wandering through Ancient Egypt.

Early animated comedy, part of a series of six, produced by animators Leo Britton and George Jeffry. Originally advertised as "a sound novelty" with "music-dialogue effects", though surviving copies are missing exacly the latter, so we will never know what this novelty sounded like.

Gypped in Egypt
USA, 1930

TV-series Van Beuren Aesop's Fables

Directed by John Foster, Mannie Davis


After killing a camel, Waffles and Don are punished by a horrific giant sphinx who transports them into a pyramid. In there they have to go through various haunting and scary adventures with dancing skeletons and living hieroglyphs before they finally manage to escape.

Early RKO sound cartoon (Van Beuren Aesop's Fables) featuring a cat and a dog with lots of surrealism, considered a cult classic among both animation buffs and historians.

Oh! Oh! Cleopatra
USA, 1931

Dorothy Burgess, Robert Woolsey, Bert Wheeler
Directed by Joseph Santley


Two guests at a banquet try some time-traveling pills, and find themselves as Caesar and Anthony, competing for the hand of Cleopatra in a chariot race. (source: BFI)

Egyptian Melodies
USA, 1931

Directed by Wilfred Jackson


An inquisitive spider explores the creepy interior of an Egyptian tomb, causing mummies and strange wall paintings to spring to life.

Early Walt Disney Studios animation. Originally Released Theatrically. Running Time 6 minutes. Black & White.

The Mummy
USA, 1932

Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners
Directed by Karl Freund


"It comes to life!"

In 1921 a British Museum field expedition in Egypt discovers the mummy of ancient Egyptian prince Imhotep, who was condemned and buried alive for sacrilege. Also found in the tomb is the Scroll of Thoth, which can bring the dead back to life. Unknown with the possible effects, a young and naïve member of the expedition reads the scroll and thus unwillingly brings Imhotep back to life. Years later the mummy sets out to recover the scroll from the archaeologists in order to bring his lost love back to life, an ancient princess who's soul will be reincarnated into modern young woman… the daughter of one of the archaeologists.

This film is considered to be the 'mother' of all mummy films. Fresh and different in its approach of the theme, it paved the way for all later movies about an expedition finding a tomb, awakening the cursed mummy inside, which then sets off to seek revenge. Based on the short story "Cagliostro" by Nina Wilcox Putnam, which was inspired by the life of traveller, occultist and Freemason Count Alessandro di Cagliostro (Giuseppe Balsamo; 1743-1795).

Joseph in the Land of Egypt
USA, 1932

Joseph Green
Directed by George Roland


The film is entirely Yiddish spoken and is considered to be the first Yiddish talkie.

The Mask of Fu Manchu
USA, 1932

Boris Karloff, Lewis Stone, Karen Morley
Directed by Charles Brabin, Charles Vidor


Englishmen race to find the tomb of Ghengis Khan. They have to get there fast, as the evil genius Dr. Fu Manchu is also searching, and if he gets the mysteriously powerful relics, he and his diabolical daughter will enslave the world!

Having nothing to do with Egyptology this film nevertheless contains some scenes in the British Museum, where a scientist is kidnapped in the Egyptian department by three Chinese outlaws dressed as Egyptian mummies hiding in large standing sarcophagi.

Lloyd of the C.I.D.
USA, 1932

Jack Lloyd, Wallace Geoffrey, Muriel Angelus
Directed by Henry MacRae, Ray Taylor


Lord Randall Hale possesses a sacred amulet that once adorned the royal arm of the boy-pharaoh Tutankhamen. Back in Egypt, the zealous and ruthless priests of the Temple of Amenhotep II want it back and priests Abdul, Salam and Fouji came to England to get it. Meanwhile, an international gang of crooks, led by Giles Wade, aka The Panther, also want to take the royal-jewel from Lord Hale of Deep-Dene Manor, and many varied types began to frequent the area around and about Deep-Dene Manor, including a ghost. Hale's niece from Canada, Diana Brooks, also pops in, as does his worthless cad of a nephew, Chester Dunn. So does Chief Inspector Jack Lloyd of the C.I.D. The game is on. (source: IMDb)

Three's A Crowd
USA, 1932

TV-series Looney Tunes

Directed by Rudolf Ising


After an old man has been reading a book by the fire and heads off to bed, a number of phantasy characters climb out from his book to sing and dance. Among them Nero fiddles while Rome burns, and Cleopatra sizzles in a slinky dance.

Cartoon from the Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon series by Warner Bros. Studios that ran between 1930 and 1969.

The Ghoul
UK, 1933

Boris Karloff, D.A. Clarke-Smith, Harold Huth
Directed by T. Hayes Hunter


An Ancient Curse Is About To Be Unleashed.

A priceless jewel known as the Eternal Light is stolen from an Egyptian tomb and becomes the possession of Professor Moriant. On his death-bed, wishing to be buried with the valuable gem, Moriant follows a prescribed ritual by having the gem bound tightly in his fist as an offering to the god Anubis in exchange for immortality, but his servant Laing steals the jewel from Moriant's body in the mausoleum. The Professor returns to life as a walking corpse to seek his revenge against those who refused to carry out his dying wish and to regain his missing jewel.

One of the earliest British horror films of the sound era. The Ghoul was originally published as a novel by mystery writer Frank King in 1928, but the book has none of the film’s (few) egyptological trappings. The film remained "lost" until a print was found in Eastern Europe in 1969. The 1974 movie The Ghoul, starring Peter Cushing and directed by Freddie Francis, has no connection to the novel or the 1933 movie.

The Magic Mummy
USA, 1933

Directed by John Foster, Vernon Stallings


Tom and Jerry are police officers, driving around in their car and enjoying listening to some music on their police radio, when they hear a bulletin announcing another theft of a mummy from the local museum. They stumble upon the culprit, a mysterious and ghoulish man who is carrying a coffin through a secret door in a cemetery. They sneak in after him and watch him command the mummy to life; it is a beautiful woman, who he then commands to sing for his audience of skeletal theatre-goers. Tom and Jerry break up the evening and try to escape with the stolen goods, with mixed results. (source: IMDb)

Short animation by John Foster and Vernon Stallings for RKO Radio Pictures. The main characters are named Tom and Jerry, but bear no relation to the later famous cat and mouse.

USA, 1934

Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille


"History's most seductive woman! The screen's mightiest spectacle!"

The story of Cleopatra, the fabulous queen of Egypt, and the epic romances between her and the greatest men of Rome, Julius Caesar and Antony.

Epic, lavish spectacle by famous director Cecil B. DeMille. A standout for the film is the art deco design influences on the sets by Art Director Hans Dreier.

Carnival in Paris
USA, 1934

Ann Rutherford, Harry Burns, Ferdinand Gottschalk
Directed by Wilhelm Thiele


The janitor of a Paris museum's Egyptology department agrees to help a girl hide from the police. Using museum costumes, they join the Paris carnival parade and even win the 'best costume' contest. Later she helps him unravel a mystery regarding the identity of one of the museum's mummies.

The Return of Chandu
USA, 1934

Bela Lugosi, Maria Alba
Directed by Ray Taylor


The cult of Ubasti on the isle of Lemuria believes that exotic Princess Nadji of Egypt is a reincarnation of their long-dead goddess Ossana. As they plan to sacrifice her, Nadji seeks refuge at the California home of a practicioner of white magic who calls himself Chandu. Not even his powers can protect her completely, and the cult follows them all the way to a South Sea island...

Famous cliff-hanger serial of 12-episodes, totalling some 3 hours and 22minutes. Little Egyptology here, though, apart from the Egyptian princess. Also known as "The Return of Chandu the Magician" (video title) and "Chandu's Return".

My Mummy's Arms
USA, 1934

Shemp Howard, Harry Gribbon, Russell Hicks
Directed by Ralph Staub


Two jerks are assistants on Mr. Smith's archealogical dig for the mummy of Egyptian King Phooey. Shemp learns that the mummy will be displayed in Smith's hotel room, and he disguises himself as Phooey in an attempt to be near Mary, Smith's daughter. Phooey's cult worshippers retrieve the mummy, and when Harry learns that the Egyptian cult will honor Phooey with a month of food and women, he jockies to take Shemp's place. Unknown to both, after one month, the mummy will be reburied where it can never be found again.

19 minute short film, one of the so-called Vitaphone Shorts featuring Shemp Howard from "The Three Stooges" on his own.

Kid Millions
USA, 1934

Eddie Cantor
Directed by Willy Pogany, Roy Del Rut (uncredited)


A musical comedy about a Brooklyn boy who inherits a fortune from his archaeologist father, but has to go to Egypt to claim it. The Egyptian part is set only in oriental arab settings, though a few ancient Egyptian objects serve for generating laughs. For instance, in one scene Eddie Cantor hides in a standing sarcophagus, where his face replaces that of the mummy.

Charlie Chan in Egypt
USA, 1935

Warner Oland, Pat Paterson, Thomas Beck, Rita Cansino
Directed by Louis King


When Charlie Chan is investigating the theft of some objects from a recently discovered tomb, he is also confronted with the case of a missing archaeologist. An X-ray machine reveals the presence of a corpse in an Egyptian sarcophagus, and it is found to be that of the murdered archaelogist. Now it is up to Chan to unravel the murder mystery.

Considered to be one of the best Charlie Chan films. It notably features a 16-year old actress named Rita Cansino, later named Rita Hayworth, in her third film. Her makeup and costume were clearly designed to make her look older.

Mummy's Boys
USA, 1936

Bert Wheeler, Robert Woolsey, Barbara Pepper
Directed by Fred Guiol


Two are hired as "excavators" for an archaeological expedition in Egypt. They don't know that their destination is the tomb of King Pharantine which carries a deadly curse that claimed the lives of nine previous explorers. It turns out that the deaths have actually been caused by the sole survivor of the first expedition who wanted all the tomb's treasures for himself.

The Scarab Murder Case
UK, 1936

Graham Cheswright, Stella Moya
Directed by Michael Hankinson


One of a series of similar dectective films based on the novels by S.S. Van Dine and centered around American detective Philo Vance and his adventures in London. In this episode he is to solve the murder of a millionaire in the 'Egyptian Museum'. An interesting twist has Egyptian archaeologist Robinson, who at first appears to be an innocent victim accused of the crime, actually turning out to be the killer. Based on the 1929 novel by Van Dine.

Professor Beware
USA, 1938

Harold Lloyd, Phyllis Welch, Raymond Walburn
Directed by Elliott Nugent


Respected Egyptologist Dean Lambert has his scholarly life upset when he begins to fall for a strange woman who keeps turning up. He is frightened by parallels he notices between his life and that of an Egyptian man he has studied, who was killed as a result of a forbidden love that he had for a similar woman 3000 years ago. Can Professor Lambert escape that fate? (source: IMDB)

The Beautiful One
UK, 1938

John Abbott, Margaretta Scott, Graveley Edwards


Early BBC television drama, set in ancient Egypt at the time of pharaoh Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Nefertiti (hence the title). Broadcast live on 5 February 1938, with a second live performance broadcast two days later on the 7 Feb 1938.

We Want our Mummy
USA, 1939

Bud Jamison, James C. Morton, Dick Curtis
Directed by Del Lord


The stooges go to Egypt in search of the mummy of king Rootin-Tootin for which a museum will pay a $5000 prize. They wind up in the mummy's tomb where they are harassed by some bad guys after the same objective. The villains, who have kidnapped a professor from the museum, want the jewels buried inside the mummy. When Curly accidentally destroys the mummy, Moe and Larry wrap him in bandages to fool the bad guys. They manage to rescue the professor and retrieve the real mummy of Rootin-Tootin who turns out to have been a midget.

Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
USA, 1939

Peter Lorre, Lionel Atwill, Virginia Field
Directed by Norman Foster


A young archaeologist discovers the crown of the Queen of Sheba and returns with it to the New York archaeology museum where it is put on display. However, the safety of the artefact is soon in doubt as it appears both a New York gangster and the super criminal Metaxa want to steal it. The famous detective Mr. Moto is engaged to deal with the threat.

At the end of the movie there is a fiersome fight in the archaeology museum between Mr. Moto and Metaxa, in the course of which several ancient Egyptian items on display are knocked over or smashed to pieces.

The Mummy's Hand
USA, 1940

Tom Tyler, Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, George Zucco, Peggy Moran
Directed by Christy Cabanne


"Tomb of a thousand terrors!"

Archaeologists in Egypt discover evidence of the hidden burial place of the ancient Egyptian princess Ananka. With funding from an eccentric magician and his beautiful daughter they set out to find the tomb, but accidentally discover doomed Kharis's tomb first. An Egyptian priest who vowed to guard the princess' mummy takes control of the awakened Kharis to kill the party members off one by one.

This first film in a series of Kharis films is by far the best, though it is heavily grounded on story and pictorial material from the original 1932 Mummy film with Boris Karloff. It is often forgotten that in this film not Lon Chaney Jr, but actually Tom Tyler plays the first Kharis. It was his tall and impressive posture that probably won him this role. Tyler was an exceptional athlete who held the American weightlifting title for fourteen consecutive years. He even attended the 1928 Olympics. He was, however, foremost a star in western movies and the Captain Marvel series. He would not continue roles in the horror genre.

The Saint's Double Trouble
USA, 1940

George Sanders, Helene Whitney, Jonathan Hale, Bela Lugosi
Directed by Jack Hively


Reformed jewel thief Simon Templar lands in hot water when it becomes known that a look-alike has smuggled stolen goods out of Egypt in a sarcophagus.

Dark Streets of Cairo
USA, 1940

Sigrid Gurie, Ralph Byrd, George Zucco, Katherine DeMille
Directed by László Kardos


"Doomed to death by an ancient curse, they dared to solve secrets sealed a thousand years!"

Professor Wyndham, the head of the American archaelogical expedition in Cairo, is ready to return home after uncovering the "seven jewels of the seventh pharaoh" when he gets murdered. The thief is Abadi, a wily merchant and leader of a gang of thieves known as the "Secret Defenders". He plans to sell them to wealthy antique collector Baron Stephens. After the murder, Professor Wyndham's assistants discover that the original jewels have been replaced by fakes. Together with a police inspector and a niece of Baron Stephens they start an investigation. The trail leads to a well-known nightclub, where a waitor is killed after a theft. His pocket happens to contain of a map of Cairo's underground aquaduct system that the Seven Defenders seem to have been using as their hideout. The police inspector finds out that it is his old old friend Abadi who is the gang's mastermind. He enlists the aid of his secret lover Shari, who is Abadi's wife. She helps to hide one of the assistants in a mummy case in her husband's store. Upon discovery, Abadi tries to escape, but is shot and killed by the inspector.

The Art of Self Defense
USA, 1941

TV-series Walt Disney's Goofy

Directed by Jack Kinney


Goofy takes a lighthearted look at self defense through the ages, with the cavemen, the ancient Egyptians, Medieval knights, the age of chivalry and 19th and 20th century boxing. The Egyptians, we learn, used to poke each other in the eye as a means of self defense.

Episode from the 1940's Goofy "How to..." cartoons in which Goofy demonstrates how to do just about everything, clumsily but always determined and never frustrated.

The Crystal Glazer
USA, 1941

Directed by Arthur Davis


A theatre-crowd is gathered to listen to Zaza Raja, a renowned mystic, who answers all questions regarding people's life and future. In response to a question from a young girl in the audience, the psychic goes wonder-gazing into his crystal ball and visions ancient Egypt. In search of the answer to the question, he wanders off into the tombs of the ancient pharaohs, where many mummies held him solve the riddle of the young lady's future. But, when Zaza Raja snaps out of his spell, he finds he has forgotten the answer. He also finds the theater audience is none too pleased about it. (source: IMDb)

Animation short.

The Mummy's Tomb
USA, 1942

Lon Chaney Jr.,Dick Foran, Wallace Ford, George Zucco, Elyse Knox
Directed by Harold Young


Living mummy Kharis travels with high priest Mehemet to America to kill all those who had desecrated the tomb of his beloved Egyptian princess Ananka thirty years earlier.

Sequel to The Mummy's Hand (1940).


Egypt, 1942

Ibrahim Hamouda, Umm Kalthoum
Directed by Ahmed Badrakhan (أحمد بدرخان)


Umm Kalthoum plays a poor country girl bent on singing in the Cairo Opera House production of Verdi's Aida. Music by composers Mohamed el-Qasabgi and Riyadh El Sonbati.

Enemy Agents Meet Ellery Queen
USA, 1942

William Gargan, Margaret Lindsay, Charley Grapewin
Directed by James P. Hogan


Nazi agents are on the lookout for a cache of precious diamonds, which are being smuggled from Holland to the United States by way of Egypt. The gems are hidden in the mummy case of Queen Tetisheri, on its way to an art gallery. When one of the smugglers is murdered, sleuth Ellery Queen and his police-inspector father try to solve the killing and trace the diamonds in the process.

One from a whole line of detective movies that were based on the long series of Ellery Queen novels that span a period of more than 40 years and were particularly successful in the 1930's and 1940's.

Ahib el Ghalat
أحب الغلط

Egypt, 1942

Taheya Carioca ( تحية كاريوكا ), Hussein Sedki ( حسين صدقي )
Directed by Hussein Fawzi


In this movie famed bellydancer Taheya Carioca (Abla Muhammed Karim) plays an aspiring actress and dancer who gets to play Cleopatra in an upcoming production about the famous Queen. The movie contains an 8 minute sequence that tells virtually the whole story of Cleopatra, from arriving to Caesar in a rolled up carpet to her death by an asp-bite. To impress Caesar and win him over she performs an Egyptian dance. The dance choreography in this movie was done by (reportedly Lebanese) Isaac Dickson, who was one of the most important choreographers and dance trainers in Egypt during the Golden Era of Egyptian dance and cinema.

The Man Who Came to Dinner
USA, 1942

Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan and Monty Woolley
Directed by William Keighley


A small, but pivotal scene in this comedy movie involves an Egyptian mummy case, where a rival actress for an important role is tricked into standing in the mummy case, which is then quickly closed and shipped off. Based on a 1939 play of the same title by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, which enjoyed several popular runs in Broadway theaters in the 1940s, and was even revived in 1980 and 2000.

The Mummy Strikes
USA, 1943

TV-series Superman

Directed by I. Sparber


"He who disturbs the eternal sleep of King Tush will perish"

An egyptologist is found dead and his assistant convicted of murder, but colleague Dr. Wilson tells reporter Clark Kent his suspicions about the Curse of King "Tush". Can Superman battle the occult forces?

Episode 14 of the classic Superman animation.


Egypt, 1943

Badr Lama, Amina Rizk
Directed by Ibrahim Lama (إبراهيم لاما)


Cleopatra, the beautiful Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, is surrounded by intrigues. She defeats her rival Heremakes but is soon threatened by the Roman danger. Antony is sent to make her pay the tribute to Rome. They fall in love and he convinces her to pardon Heremakes. Octavius discovers the love story between Antony and Cleopatra and warns Antony that if he does not give Cleopatra up, there will be war between them. When the war breaks out, the treacherous Heremakes, disguised as a soothsayer, convinces Cleopatra to withdraw from the battle, which led Antony to believe she had betrayed him. Heremakes then tells Antony that Cleopatra had repented and committed suicide, which makes Antony grieve and commit suicide himself. He is then led dying to her. They clasp each other and she puts the fatal asp to her breast. (source: bibalex.org)

Movie by the Chilean-born Palestinian brothers Ibrahim and Badr Lama, who had settled in Alexandria in 1924 as photographers. They quickly converted to cinema and became responsible for a large number of productions in the 1930's and 1940's. The 1943 movie "Cleopatra" is the only one with an ancient Egyptian theme.

Somewhere in Egypt
USA, 1943

TV-series Gandy Goose

Directed by Mannie Davis


It is wartime in occupied Egypt, and Sourpuss and Gandy Goose are stationed, apparently, right in front of the Sphinx. Gandy plays a soothing, exotic melody as Sourpuss drifts off to sleep, where he dreams that he and Gandy have ridden a magic carpet into the ancient Egyptian tombs. At first they seem scary, and darn Gandy can't keep his hands from fiddling with things that could be booby traps. But the adventure takes a turn for the better, as the tomb becomes filled with sexy, scantily clad kitties. (source: IMDb)

Animation short featuring Gandy Goose.

The Mummy's Ghost
USA, 1944

Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Ramsay Ames, George Zucco, Robert Lowery
Directed by Reginald LeBorg


An Egyptian high priest travels to America to reclaim the bodies of ancient Egyptian princess Ananka and her guardian, living mummy Kharis. Learning that Ananka's spirit has been reincarnated into another body, he kidnaps a young woman of Egyptian descent with a mysterious resemblance to the princess. However, the high priest's greedy desires cause him to loose control of the mummy…

Sequel to The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Mummy's Tomb (1942) and The Mummy's Curse (1944).

A Night of Magic
USA, 1944

Robert Griffith, Marian Olive
Directed by Herbert Wynn


In this musical a British playboy, who just happens to be in possession of a 3,000 year old sarcophagus, discovers a 3,000 year old attractive princess inside, well alive!

La Corte de Faraón
Mexico, 1944

Mapy Cortés, Roberto Soto, Fernando Cortés
Directed by Julio Bracho


Musical comedy set in ancient Egypt, produced by Films Mundiales.

The Mummy's Curse
USA, 1944

Lon Chaney Jr., Virginia Christine
Directed by Leslie Goodwins


An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths Kharis the living mummy, who was buried in quicksand 25 years earlier.

Sequel to The Mummy's Hand (1940) and The Mummy's Tomb (1942).

USA, 1945

Turhan Bey, Jon Hall, Maria Montez
Directed by John Rawlins


Young, lovely Naila becomes queen of the ancient Egyptian kingdom of Khemis when her father is killed in a slave revolt. Continuing her penchant for going incognito among the people, she seeks out rebel leader Herua. But through palace treachery, she herself is captured and enslaved. After various adventures, she finds herself rescued by (and attracted to) the very rebel she was seeking. Will gratitude or revenge win out?

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