The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Horror, Mystery  |  9 September 1927 (USA)
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Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.



(from the stage play by), (adaptation), 3 more credits »
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Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Laura La Plante, Montagu Love, Roy D'Arcy


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


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


Spooks! Thrills! Shrieks! Laughs! See more »


Comedy | Horror | Mystery


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 September 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A macska és a kanári  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


(DVD) (2004 restoration) |

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The play on which this film is based opened in New York on 7 February 1922 at the National Theater. It closed in May 1922 after 148 performances. See more »


In the credits a character named "Ira Lazar" is listed. No such person is ever named in the film. However, external information indicates that "Ira Lazar" is the character who identifies himself as "the doctor" sent to check on Annabelle's sanity. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: On a lonely pine-clad hill overlooking the Hudson, stood the grotesque mansion of an eccentric millionaire...
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Version of Katten och kanariefågeln (1961) See more »


Symphonie no. 3 avec orgue
  • 1st movement

Camille Saint-Saëns
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User Reviews

This Silent Is Golden
1 January 2003 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

This late silent movie shows off the considerable talents of its director, Paul Leni, as the camera prowls the environs of an old dark house with the gracefulness of a cat, while the actors bob around like canaries, forming uneasy alliances and plotting against one another. The cast is well chosen. Laura La Plante makes a lovely heroine, while bespectacled Creighton Hale makes an agreeable, somewhat Harold Lloyd-like hero. Tully Marshall and Martha Mattox represent, none too flatteringly, the older generation; the former has the face of a drawn, white prune, while the latter makes a perfect battle-axe as the ironically named Mammy Pleasant. By today's standards the movie isn't too scary, though its mood of foreboding is still effective. Its qualities are pictorial more than dramatic, and the print I saw was badly in need of restoration.

The Cat and the Canary is a key film of the silent era, and was hugely influential in kicking off the old dark house genre that continued into the early talkie period. When sound came in the wisecracks proliferated, which tended to lighten the mood and detract from the suspense. In this one the humor is visual, and the tone is more consistent. There have been dozens remakes and imitations over the years, but the dark, Gothic beauty of the original has never been surpassed.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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