The Eyes of the Mummy (1918)


The movie The Eyes of the Mummy (1918) is a German silent film directed by Ernst Lubitsch¹. The film stars Pola Negri as Ma, Emil Jannings as Radu, and Harry Liedtke as Wendland. [1]

In The Eyes of the Mummy (1918), a young, wealthy painter named Wendland travels to Egypt, where he hears about the tomb of Queen Ma, a site far out into the desert that has reportedly driven everyone who has visited it mad. Intrigued, the painter arranges to be taken to the tomb. When he arrives, he is greeted by an Egyptian native named Radu, who leads him to a coffin in a dark room. There he sees the eyes behind the coffin slowly open and come to life, just before the Egyptian tries to attack him. The painter wards off Radu, and finds that the coffin lid is actually an entrance to a small adjacent room, where a helpless young girl, also named Ma, is held prisoner by the Egyptian’s Svengali-like hypnotic powers. Wendland rescues Ma from the site and takes her back to Europe with him, making her his wife. Radu, heartbroken at losing Ma, wanders into the desert and faints on the hot sands. A wealthy Prince finds him, nurses him back to health, and makes him his personal servant. When Radu comes to, he swears vengeance on Ma for leaving him. [1]

Wendland hires a tutor to introduce Ma to European manners and customs, and then throws a party to introduce her to his friends. When Ma begins dancing a Middle Eastern dance at the party, she attracts the interest of a vaudeville manager, who signs her to a contract. A few months into Ma’s success on the vaudeville circuit, the Prince decides to go to one of the shows she appears in and takes his servant Radu with him¹. When Radu sees Ma on stage, he hypnotizes her from across the room, and she faints in the middle of her act. Much later, the Prince visits an art exhibit, which includes some paintings by Wendland. He is particularly taken by a portrait of Ma he has painted, and invites Wendland and Ma to visit his personal collection. After viewing the collection, the three sit down to tea, only for Ma to see Radu from behind through a reflection in a mirror. She goes into a trance, faints, and becomes ill. Sometime after recovering from the illness, the Prince gives Radu a letter to deliver to Wendland, telling Wendland he will purchase the painting of Ma, which is already in his possession. When they receive the letter, Ma tells Wendland to go to the Prince and cancel the purchase, which he does. [1]


  • Pola Negri as Ma
  • Harry Liedtke as Albert Wendland, a Painter
  • Emil Jannings as Radu, an Arab
  • Max Laurence as Prince Hohenfels
  • Margarete Kupfer


The movie The Eyes of the Mummy (1918) was the first collaboration between Lubitsch and Negri. [1]


“This film is sometimes described as Svengali meets She but I don’t really agree. In my opinion, this film has a lot in common with Bram Stoker’s Dracula: the supernatural stalking, the mysterious ailment, the victim’s loved ones standing by while her health declines. But, frankly, I think we’re giving the story too much credit as it seems to be a patchwork quilt and a poorly designed one at that.” [3]


[1] Wikipedia

[2] IMDb


Last updated byCody Meirick on November 26, 2023