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The Cat and the Canary (1927)

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

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(from the stage play by), (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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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
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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:

New York's Smashing Stage Success that has thrilled thousands! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

9 September 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A macska és a kanári  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) (2004 restoration) |

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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

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 »

Quotes

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

Version of La voluntad del muerto (1930) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphonie no. 3 avec orgue
  • 1st movement



Camille Saint-Saëns
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User Reviews

 
Creepy Mystery and Horror Silent Film
11 January 2011 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

The millionaire Cyrus West has spent the last years of his life in his mansion nearby the Hudson River considered insane by his greedy relatives and feeling like a canary in a cage surrounded by cats. When he dies, he stipulates that his lawyer Roger Crosby (Tully Marshall) would read his will that is kept in a safe in the twentieth anniversary of his death. On the scheduled day, Cyrus West's loyal servant Mammy Pleasant (Martha Mattox) and the lawyer welcome the guests in the creepy mansion that people tells that is inhabited by ghosts: West's nephews Harry Blythe (Arthur Edmund Carewe), Charles "Charlie" Wilder (Forrest Stanley), the scared Paul Jones (Creighton Hale), Aunt Susan Sillsby (Flora Finch), Cecily Young (Gertrude Astor) and West's niece Annabelle West (Laura La Plante). When Roger Crosby opens the will, West's mansion and fortune are left to the most distant relative having the name West, meaning Annabelle. However, she should prove first that she is sane; otherwise, the inheritance would be bequeathed to another heir whose name is in a sealed envelope. Out of the blue, a guard (George Siegmann) comes to the mansion and tells that a dangerous lunatic has fled from an institution. During the night, Roger Crosby disappears and Annabelle receives an envelope from Mammy Pleasant where West tells the location of his precious diamonds. Annabelle finds the jewels and wears a necklace, but while she is sleeping, a hand comes from the wall and steals the diamonds from her neck. With the exception of Paul Jones that loves Annabelle, her relatives believe that she is insane. But when Annabelle finds a hidden chamber in the wall with the body of Roger Crosby, Mammy Pleasant decides to call the police and the identity of the lunatic is disclosed.

"The Cat and the Canary" is a creepy mystery and horror silent film by the German Expressionist director Paul Leni. The plots blends black humor with elements of horror using the atmosphere of the expressionism with shadows and lighting, and the result is a stylish movie where even the inter-titles are funny. The beauty of Laura La Plante is very impressive. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Gato e o Canário" ("The Cat and the Canary")


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