IMDb > The Cat and the Canary (1939)
The Cat and the Canary
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The Cat and the Canary (1939) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

User Rating:
7.4/10   1,075 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Walter DeLeon (writer)
Lynn Starling (writer)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Cat and the Canary on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 November 1939 (USA) See more »
Tagline:
A CHILL-AND-CHUCKLE CHASE!...A FORTUNE AT STAKE AND A MONSTER AT LARGE! (original ad - all caps) See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
NewsDesk:
(3 articles)
When Comedy Meets Horror (part one)
 (From SoundOnSight. 25 October 2012, 10:45 AM, PDT)

Paulette Goddard on TCM: Modern Times, Reap The Wild Wind
 (From Alt Film Guide. 2 August 2011, 3:50 PM, PDT)

Bob Hope Thanks for the Memories Collection DVD Review
 (From Collider.com. 25 June 2010, 6:12 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Delightful pseudo-comic remake of the original murder mystery See more (42 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Bob Hope ... Wally Campbell

Paulette Goddard ... Joyce Norman
John Beal ... Fred Blythe
Douglass Montgomery ... Charles Wilder

Gale Sondergaard ... Miss Lu
Elizabeth Patterson ... Aunt Susan
George Zucco ... Mr. Crosby, lawyer
Nydia Westman ... Cicily

John Wray ... Hendricks, guard
George Regas ... Indian guide
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William Abbey ... 'The Cat' (uncredited)
Milton Kibbee ... Photographer (uncredited)

Charles Lane ... Reporter (uncredited)
Frank Melton ... Reporter (uncredited)
Nick Thompson ... Indian Guide (uncredited)
Chief Thundercloud ... Indian guide (uncredited)
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Directed by
Elliott Nugent 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Walter DeLeon  writer
Lynn Starling  writer
John Willard  play

Produced by
Arthur Hornblow Jr. .... producer
 
Original Music by
Ernst Toch  (as Dr. Ernst Toch)
 
Cinematography by
Charles Lang 
 
Film Editing by
Archie Marshek 
 
Art Direction by
Hans Dreier 
Robert Usher 
 
Set Decoration by
A.E. Freudeman 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head 
 
Sound Department
Richard Olson .... sound recordist
Philip Wisdom .... sound recordist
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Andrea Setaro .... musical advisor
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
72 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)
Certification:

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 »
Quotes:
Cicily:Don't big empty houses scare you?
Wally Campbell:Not me, I used to be in vaudeville.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Murder by Invitation (1941)See more »

FAQ

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Delightful pseudo-comic remake of the original murder mystery, 3 August 2004

The 1927 late silent filming of this creaky John Willard play was stylish and had to its credit excellent cinematography, art direction and editing. The acting was less than up to par but taken for itself, it was quite enjoyable.

Hollywood didn't get around to re-filming it until 1939. Paramount acquired the rights from Universal and rewrote the script to give it a comedic bent -all for the talents of Bob Hope in his first big role. The added one liners are still quite funny, especially the one about Republicans. Hope is great, as is Paulette Goddard in the lead, although she is a tougher heroine than the original is intended to be.

The rest of the cast is well-assigned their roles. Standouts are George Zucco as the lawyer, Mr. Crosby and Nydia Westman as Cicily. Gale Sondergaard is properly menacing as the housekeeper, Miss Lu - and Douglass Montgomery is dashingly handsome and kind as Charles Wilder.

The plot devices, make-up and menace did not give me any thrills, but then, I knew the plot and who the killer would turn out to be. I imagine it's much more fun for someone who has never been exposed to the original play or silent film.

Changes in the original - only ten years, not twenty, have passed since the old millionaire's death and certain character names have been changed - Annabelle West is now Joyce Norman. Paul Jones is now Wally Campbell. Harry Blythe is now Fred Blythe. Mammy Pleasant is now Miss Lu - etc.

There's delight, humor, a few chills - and a literally surprise unveiling of the murderer, the motives, and the method. Highly recommended and newly (2004) available on DVD - its first release in any video format.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Why didn't the housekeeper...[Spoile rs] mel2000
What a hoot ! (SPOILER) viaggio1
Strange plot hole viaggio1
Something I'd love to know *SPOILERS* luciefilm
FINALLY ON DVD!!!! wagnerfan
Movie 'Cliche' or classic plot point? eschetic
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