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
This film was reputed to have been highly influential to James Whale, when he made "The Old Dark House." See more »
As Tully Marshall's dead body falls to the floor, the actor can be clearly seen extending his hands to break the fall. See more »
On a lonely pine-clad hill overlooking the Hudson, stood the grotesque mansion of an eccentric millionaire...
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Kino International distributed a video with the original 1927 musical setting compiled by James Bradford and adapted and performed by Eric Beheim and "The Cyrus West Players." It was produced by David Shepard using film materials from the David Bradley collection, and copyrighted in 1997 by Film Preservation Associates. The running time was 82 minutes. See more »
An old man (Cyrus West) dies accusing his relatives of hovering over him--like cats over a canary. 20 years after his death his relatives get together as his will is read in his creepy mansion on a dark and windy night at midnight (of course). One person gets all the money and estate--unless they are proved insane. And how about the escaped lunatic from the nearby asylum...?
This is probably one of the first (if not THE first) movie about the reading of the will, a dark and (purportedly) haunted house and people being murdered. Plotwise it's nothing new and contains some terribly unfunny "comedy". Still it's worth catching.
It's very well directed by Paul Leni (the juxtaposing of images was clever) and he has fun with the title cards (see how "HELP!" is done). The acting is a little bit overdone (but that's common in silent films) and star Laura La Plante is pretty good. I saw the restored print (which is still in pretty bad shape) and it has an excellent music score that helps too.
So, worth catching. No great shakes though.
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