A producer decides to reopen a theater, that had been closed five years previously when one of the actors was murdered during a performance, by staging a production of the same play with ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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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