MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,022 this week

The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery  |  9 September 1927 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,743 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 47 critic

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director:

Writers:

(from the stage play by), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

Free at Internet Archive

WATCH NOW
ON DISC

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 30 Oct 2010
 
a list of 34 titles
created 09 Jan 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 39 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 41 titles
created 2 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary (1927) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Cat and the Canary.

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A world-famous pianist loses both hands in an accident. When new hands are grafted on, he doesn't know they once belonged to a murderer.

Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Kortner
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

For Balduin, going out to beer parties with his fellow students and fighting out disputes at the tip of the sword have lost their charms. He wants to find love; but how would he, a ... See full summary »

Director: Henrik Galeen
Stars: Conrad Veidt, Elizza La Porta, Fritz Alberti
The Bat (1926)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A masked criminal who dresses like a giant bat terrorizes the guests at an old house rented by a mystery writer.

Director: Roland West
Stars: George Beranger, Charles Herzinger, Emily Fitzroy
The Golem (1920)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In 16th-century Prague, a rabbi creates a giant creature from clay, called the Golem, and using sorcery, brings the creature to life in order to protect the Jews of Prague from persecution.

Directors: Carl Boese, Paul Wegener
Stars: Paul Wegener, Albert Steinrück, Ernst Deutsch
The Penalty (1920)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Allan has a hard time finding the Usher's house, which is known to be cursed... But he is a personal friend of Roderick Usher, who lives with his sick wife Madeline and a doctor. Roderick ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Epstein
Stars: Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when the stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
The Monster (1925)
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A meek clerk who doubles as an amateur detective investigates some very strange goings-on at a remote mental sanitarium.

Director: Roland West
Stars: Lon Chaney, Gertrude Olmstead, Hallam Cooley
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Disappearances and strange goings-on in a spooky old mansion.

Directors: Rupert Julian, John Willard
Stars: Helen Twelvetrees, Raymond Hackett, Neil Hamilton
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: George L. Cox
Stars: Vera Hamilton, Frank Weed
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  
Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Marian Nixon, Florence Turner, Hobart Bosworth
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Creighton Hale ...
Forrest Stanley ...
...
Gertrude Astor ...
Flora Finch ...
Arthur Edmund Carewe ...
Harry (as Arthur Edmund Carew)
Martha Mattox ...
...
The Guard
Lucien Littlefield ...
Ira Lazar
Edit

Storyline

Rich old Cyrus West's relatives are waiting for him to die so they can inherit. But he stipulates that his will be read 20 years after his death. On the appointed day his expectant heirs arrive at his brooding mansion. The will is read and it turns out that Annabelle West, the only heir with his name left, inherits, if she is deemed sane. If she isn't, the money and some diamonds go to someone else, whose name is in a sealed envelope. Before he can reveal the identity of her successor to Annabelle, Mr. Crosby, the lawyer, disappears. The first in a series of mysterious events, some of which point to Annabelle in fact being unstable. Written by Ron Kerrigan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a Universal Long Run Special. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 September 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A macska és a kanári  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) (2004 restoration) |

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer/director Robert F. Hill not only wrote the adaptation for this film but also served as a sort of assistant/associate director for Paul Leni. Leni, a German, didn't speak much English, and Hill spoke German, so he acted as a liaison between Leni and the cast and crew. See more »

Goofs

As Tully Marshall's dead body falls to the floor, the actor can be clearly seen extending his hands to break the fall. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: On a lonely pine-clad hill overlooking the Hudson, stood the grotesque mansion of an eccentric millionaire...
See more »

Connections

Version of The Cat Creeps (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphonie no. 3 avec orgue
  • 1st movement



Camille Saint-Saëns
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Influential Silent Film Is Still Amusing
6 April 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

The 1922 play THE CAT AND THE CANARY was so popular that it made the fortune of author John Willard, who lived to see it filmed no fewer than three times before his death in 1942. Even today the story remains a classic of its kind, inspiring a host of films that mix comedy, mystery, and horror--not to mention still more that focus on suspicious doings in old, dark houses. When questioned by author Gavin Lambert, director James Whale very specifically indicated that the 1927 film version, along with the 1928 THE LAST WARNING, influenced his own work in such films as FRANKENSTEIN and THE OLD DARK HOUSE.

Both THE CAT AND THE CANARY and THE LAST WARNING were created for Universal by director Paul Leni. But while THE LAST WARNING is not presently available to the home market, THE CAT AND THE CANARY most certainly is, and even some eighty years later is possible to see what all the fuss was about. In term of cinematography, CAT is a remarkably imaginative film, using a series of over-lapping images, close-ups, and dissolves to astonishing effect. In a visual sense it is easily one of the most stylish films of the silent era.

The plot is a classic of its kind. Like the original Willard play, the film's story mixes a host of already-clichéd ideas with several then-new ones. Today, of course, it can be a bit difficult to them apart! But even so it remains a fair amount of fun. An eccentric millionaire has been hounded to death by his greedy relatives--and when he dies he leaves behind a will that imposes a twenty year waiting period between his death and delivery of his estate to his heir. But who will the heir be? The candidates assemble to hear the will at midnight... and no sooner is the heir named than strange doings are afoot.

The characters are archetypes: the nice girl (Laura La Plante), the mild-mannered boy (Creighton Hale), the fashion princess (Gertrude Astor), the battle ax matron (Flora Finch), and so on. Perhaps most memorable is the housekeeper (Martha Mattox), an exceedingly dour woman most ironically named Mammy Pleasant! Add in an exasperated lawyer, a creepy doctor, secret passages, hairy hands with needle-like finger nails, stolen diamonds, and as many dashes of comedy as you can get away with, mix well, and you have the inspiration for a seemingly endless list of classic films.

Although they may seem overly broad by modern standards, the cast plays at the level of what was considered comic-realistic in the late silent era, the production values are first rate, and the plot is quirky enough in a silly sort of way to make the whole thing fun. But it is really the direction and the look of the thing that scores; in its best moments, THE CAT AND THE CANARY is plenty good indeed.

The film is available in several DVD releases. You should avoid the Alpha release; although the picture is passable, the score is so dire that it completely undermines the film. Although it clearly needs further restoration, the Image release is superior and offers your choice of scores, both of which work with the film rather than against it. Recommended for silent fans and those interested in the development of the classic horror film!

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


28 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Laura La Plante JackBluegrass
Musical score history and issues sambson
Discuss The Cat and the Canary (1927) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?