The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer, who after one look athe owner's pretty daughter, starts ... See full summary »
A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with ... See full summary »
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
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 »
When the murdered lawyer falls from behind a concealed door, he falls face down, but in the subsequent scenes he is shown on his back. See more »
On a lonely pine-clad hill overlooking the Hudson, stood the grotesque mansion of an eccentric millionaire...
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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.
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