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The Cat and the Canary (1939)

When an eccentric family meets in their uncle's remote, decaying mansion on the tenth anniversary of his death for the reading of his will, murder and madness follow.

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Storyline

Ten years have passed since the death of millionaire, Cyrus Norman. Cosby, Cyrus' attorney, has gathered Cyrus' 6 remaining relatives to his New Orleans' mansion for Cyrus' "reading of the will". To the others disappointment, Joyce is the sole heir, but, due to a streak of insanity running in the family, a second will has been made in case Joyce falls victim to it. This puts Joyce in danger. Suddenly, Miss Lu, Cyrus' maid, appears and warns them that the spirits have told her that one of them will die that night. Following this, Hendrick, a prison guard, warns them that, "The Cat", a homicidal maniac has escaped. This sets up Cyrus' relatives with a night filled with murders, mysteries and intrigue. Written by Kelly

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Taglines:

Through it all...Bob Hope at his wise-cracking best, laughing his way through hilarious heroics...hoping a gag's as good as a gun to get ghosts on the go! See more »


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Release Date:

10 November 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gato y el canario  »

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(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paulette Goddard did not actually come on board this project until more than three months after Paramount had announced their intention to remake the 1927 film. Successively preceding Goddard as the film's prospective leading lady had been two of Bob Hope's recent co-stars, Martha Raye and Shirley Ross, respectively. Though the reasoning behind Raye's replacement by Ross was never made public, the rationale for Paramount's final choice is no great mystery. A bigger star than either Ross or Raye, Goddard was snapped up by Paramount once she became available, owing to preproduction snafus with Charles Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940). See more »

Goofs

When the heirs heading to the house in a boat point out a swimming alligator, protective tape is visibly wrapped around its mouth.. See more »

Quotes

Fred Blythe: I could use a drink.
Wally Campbell: Yeah, I could too. Might as well be a live stiff as a dead stiff.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

Hope at His Wittiest!
12 June 2000 | by See all my reviews

Most of Bob Hope's films rely heavily on the humour of the times, with references to political and cultural events figuring in significantly. Sometimes this detracts from his films, because the humour is not always self-evident. Not is the case with his performance in the remake of Paul Leni's The Cat and the Canary. Hope has one great one-liner after another in this old dark house mystery-comedy. The story is pretty familiar: a group a relations must stay a night in a house, listen to a will, and then remain there for the evening to see if the inheritor remains sane throughout the evening. Of course, we the audience are treated to secret panels, an occasional murder, hooded culprits, and a great mystery. The Cat and the Canary works so well for a number of reasons. First, it is a very atmospheric film taking place in the swamplands of Louisiana. The film is by no means big budget but does do the most with what it has. The surrounding swampland have an authentic feeling to them and the house itself is magnificently eerie. The cast is quite good with Bob Hope saving the film from tiresome formula with his special brand of humour and his excellent timing. Despite his great performance, he is almost upstaged by Gale Sondergaard as a dark, brooding servant. George Zucco also has a nice supporting role. All in all a nice way to spend an evening.


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