7.2/10
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The Cat and the Canary (1927)

Passed | | 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.

Director:

Paul Leni

Writers:

John Willard (from the stage play by), Robert F. Hill (adaptation) | 4 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:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | 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 »

Connections

Featured in Universal Horror (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphonie no. 3 avec orgue
  • 1st movement

Written by Camille Saint-Saëns
See more »

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User Reviews

Perhaps the best Old Dark House film.
3 March 2002 | by michael.e.barrettSee all my reviews

I'm a fan of both horror films and silent films, but I didn't have a chance to get around to this one until now--and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Other reviewers have already indicated how well-directed it is, and some have pointed out that the "overacting" is intentional in what was always understood by 1927 audiences as a spoof of the "Old Dark House" genre that was popular on Broadway for much of the decade and spilled onto the movie screen. Once you understand that everyone KNEW these were cliches, you realize there's no reason to take a patronizing attitude. I have to say this is the most satisfying "ODH" film I've seen (not considering actual haunted house films like the first version of "The Haunting"). It has a light touch and almost every shot makes some delightful choice--moving camera, jarring close-up, dutch angle, etc. Director Leni succeeds in making this stage play seem cinematic. One shot has a frightened character speeding through the corridor, apparently on an unseen bicycle! The shot of the body falling down out of a closet onto the camera has been much imitated, both seriously (as in "Public Enemy") and as parody (Warner Bros. cartoons). For a quick comparison, check Roland West's early talkie "The Bat Whispers." Although nothing in "Cat" reaches quite the level of West's most astonishing shots, the film as a whole is more satisfying and less stagey.


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