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The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Relatives of an eccentric millionaire gather in his spooky mansion on the 20th anniversary of his death for the reading of his will.

Director:

Paul Leni

Writers:

John Willard (from the stage play by), Robert F. Hill (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laura La Plante ... Annabelle West
Creighton Hale ... Paul Jones
Forrest Stanley ... Charles Wilder
Tully Marshall ... Roger Crosby
Gertrude Astor ... Cecily
Flora Finch ... Susan
Arthur Edmund Carewe ... Harry (as Arthur Edmund Carew)
Martha Mattox ... Mammy Pleasant
George Siegmann ... 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:

It's a Universal Long Run Special. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A macska és a kanári See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD) (2004 restoration) |

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The black cat on the road was stuffed. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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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Alternate Versions

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 »


Soundtracks

Symphonie no. 3 avec orgue
  • 1st movement

Written by Camille Saint-Saëns
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Kino Does It Again!
22 November 2007 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

I had seen The Cat and the Canary several times before I sat down to watch the Kino transfer. It has amazing clarity, a beautifully appropriate score, and does more than ample justice to one of the cornerstones of the silent era and the horror genre respectively. The story is simple enough: a wealthy man dies leaving his money to an heir detailed in a sealed envelope for all to see years after his death. We are introduced to the main star of the film early on - the eerie, creepy, web-strewn house. A house filled with long-flowing drapes, creaky(we must imagine) steps, mazes of twisting hallways, a series of hidden compartments and passageways all over, and the obligatory servant that hangs on to her job years after her employer has passed away. Director Paul Leni knows how to set the mood and make atmosphere reign supreme as his camera lens moves to shadows and light with the greatest of ease. The acting complements the atmosphere with great turns really by all involved. Tully Marshall, though in a small role, makes more impact with his little screen time than other actors would be capable of doing. Martha Mattox, as Mammy Pleasant of all names, is exceedingly creepy and effective as the old maid of the manse. Beautiful Laura LaPlante is the heiress who must spend a night amidst jealous, vengeful, greedy relatives. LaPlante has an exquisite smile and grace about her and effectively can go from light horror to light comedy. But Leni makes more than just a horror film here with Creighton Hale as Paul Jones, LaPlante's cousin and love interest. With Hale Leni relies heavily on mixing horror and atmosphere with broad light comedy. Hale, with his Harold Lloyd glasses and look, really is quite amusing as a bungling, easily frightened man who gets to relive his adolescent crush. The other actors are just dandy(seems to work in a review for a film this old) and the killer is not terribly hard to figure out - but that is secondary to the mood, tension, pace, and characterizations that lead to his/her unveiling. The Kino print is really just gorgeous. The music is just right and the title cards are perfect. Two scenes in particular stand out for me as classic Leni: One, Mattox, with candle in hand walking down a corridor with a row of windows draped and blowing as the winds blows indiscriminately and two, Tully Marshall about to read the name of the heir should LaPlante be proved to be crazy. Wonderfully shot! An ageless classic of the silent cinema for sure.


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