I know I’ve talked about The Mummy and The Mummy Returns on this blog before, way back when. Why do I love these movies so much? I don’t know. They aren’t even remotely historically accurate, the mythology is way off base, the plots are so-so, and I have to cover my eyes any time there’s a scarab on the screen. But nonetheless, something about them resonates with me.
I’m combining both movies here, since the characters generally wear the same costumes for the duration of the films (I’m pretending that Return of the Dragon Emperor or whatever it is doesn’t exist, and I’m not much of a Scorpion King fan. Besides, you can hardly call the scraps of cloth and large pieces of jewelry used in that film to be “clothing.”).
I think that the easiest answer to the above question is that once again, I’m drawn to the female lead. Unlike the characters I’ve mentioned previously, however, Evy is bookish. She’s a nerd who loves a good library and isn’t necessarily out for adventure, just the next great discovery. Adventure just kind of lands in her path and she can’t avoid it. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she likes it.
With a backdrop of Egypt in 1923 (then ruled by the British), the Mummy not only has great costumes, but also great sets. Check out some of the wood work:
One of my favorite costumes of all time is Evy’s librarian outfit. I love the bookish, nerdy look, and I have serious case of shoe lust for those Oxford Mary Jane pumps. I couldn’t find a full body shot of the outfit, but you see them briefly in this clip (when I watched it, the audio syncing was off, but that might be my computer. Even if you hit mute, the scene is still very funny):
Here’s a still from the same scene:
But of course, this is an action movie. We can’t have a dowdy, bookish librarian for the hero’s love interest! So about five minutes into the movie, Evy promptly loses all of her clothes in a shipwreck, and must “go native”:
In this scene, we also see Rick O’Connell’s costume. It’s pretty basic: Shirt. Trousers. Boots. Nothing really out of the ordinary, except those holsters. Which for me, really make the outfit. In his case, it’s not so much what he’s wearing, as how he’s wearing it (okay, you caught me; Brendan Fraser fan).
Part of the reason I like this look is that while it is a period piece, and while it does involve British influences and have all the manners and niceties of the early 20th century, he’s not wearing a suit. It’s a nice departure.
Speaking of suites and departures, when the first board the boat (the one that sinks) he is wearing something a little fancier. Sadly, since it’s shown for all of five seconds, I can’t find a picture. But it’s one of those light colored suits like the ones Jonathan wears throughout the film (minus the pith helmet and dorky expression).
You can see that Evy appreciates the change.
Oh, and of course there’s the British Army uniform Rick wears in his opening scene. Uniforms are always a plus:
In the second movie, both Evy and Rick wear variations on their costumes from the first movie. Set ten years (or thereabouts) in the future, around 1933, Rick looks much the same only…cleaner. Well, he would have to since he and Evy are both key members of London society. The suits switch from tan and white to black (yawn) (though everyone looks very snappy in them), and Evy shows up in this:
…While I love the outfit, I can’t help but think that the costume designer forgot what decade it was supposed to be. In fact, very few of her costumes from this film (mostly black dresses/skirts that harken back to her “native” costume from the previous movie) really look like something from the 30s. In fact her nemesis, Meela, dresses more to period (though her costumes are entirely inappropriate for traipsing around in the desert, at least until she gets ready for a show down and then she, too, forgets all references to time period.
And the typewriters in all of this? While there might be one lurking in the background at the beginning of the second movie, the only one I found in the first was a very abused portable machine that shows up for just a few seconds as Rick tries to get Evy out of Egypt as fast as he can. Sadly, I cannot find the clip or a still with the typewriter. You’ll just have to see the movie and cringe for yourself.
I have two more blogs planned for this series, unless I think of another period film I want to add (which is possible. Originally, this one wasn’t on the list). There are two others that MIGHT make it…it depends on how far I decide to go.
Other than the typewriters, what draw you to period films?