The Cat and the Canary

1927

Comedy / Horror / Mystery

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 93% · 45 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 75% · 1K ratings
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 3407 3.4K

Director

Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
797.51 MB
986*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
Seeds 6
1.45 GB
1476*1078
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
Seeds 26

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leahcurry 8 / 10

Amazing "Old Dark House" film

"The Cat and the Canary" has been considered a masterpiece, and that the film is still known today is a feat in itself. It is easily my favorite silent film. Paul Leni (the director) has a great deal of prowess on films like these, and it has been admitted by others.

First, the sets are realistic, making this film a believable "journey back in time" (it was made over 70 yrs. ago). I am shocked to hear one reviewer say this film as broadly acted and visually stunted. The sets are marvelous, especially the drawing room (it looks very nice to be part of a "haunted house"). The camera work (ex. the skeleton double-exposure, the subtitles occasionally moving like a ghost) is very enjoyable, too.

About the acting, first get this straight: Much of the acting is quite normal. But in the fright scenes (especially by Laura La Plante), the acting has nothing wrong with it. Much of it is very funny (contrary to common belief). Flora Finch (Aunt Susan) is funny as the gossiper, and Creighton Hale as Paul is cute. Why do most of you find the broad acting painful to watch? If you can't find silent films enjoyable, all I can tell you is, tough luck. Classic films are as a general rule better than the new ones, but even new films can be very good.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 8 / 10

Creepy Mystery and Horror Silent Film

The millionaire Cyrus West has spent the last years of his life in his mansion nearby the Hudson River considered insane by his greedy relatives and feeling like a canary in a cage surrounded by cats. When he dies, he stipulates that his lawyer Roger Crosby (Tully Marshall) would read his will that is kept in a safe in the twentieth anniversary of his death. On the scheduled day, Cyrus West's loyal servant Mammy Pleasant (Martha Mattox) and the lawyer welcome the guests in the creepy mansion that people tells that is inhabited by ghosts: West's nephews Harry Blythe (Arthur Edmund Carewe), Charles "Charlie" Wilder (Forrest Stanley), the scared Paul Jones (Creighton Hale), Aunt Susan Sillsby (Flora Finch), Cecily Young (Gertrude Astor) and West's niece Annabelle West (Laura La Plante). When Roger Crosby opens the will, West's mansion and fortune are left to the most distant relative having the name West, meaning Annabelle. However, she should prove first that she is sane; otherwise, the inheritance would be bequeathed to another heir whose name is in a sealed envelope. Out of the blue, a guard (George Siegmann) comes to the mansion and tells that a dangerous lunatic has fled from an institution. During the night, Roger Crosby disappears and Annabelle receives an envelope from Mammy Pleasant where West tells the location of his precious diamonds. Annabelle finds the jewels and wears a necklace, but while she is sleeping, a hand comes from the wall and steals the diamonds from her neck. With the exception of Paul Jones that loves Annabelle, her relatives believe that she is insane. But when Annabelle finds a hidden chamber in the wall with the body of Roger Crosby, Mammy Pleasant decides to call the police and the identity of the lunatic is disclosed.

"The Cat and the Canary" is a creepy mystery and horror silent film by the German Expressionist director Paul Leni. The plots blends black humor with elements of horror using the atmosphere of the expressionism with shadows and lighting, and the result is a stylish movie where even the inter-titles are funny. The beauty of Laura La Plante is very impressive. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "O Gato e o Canário" ("The Cat and the Canary")

Reviewed by gftbiloxi 8 / 10

Influential Silent Film Is Still Amusing

The 1922 play THE CAT AND THE CANARY was so popular that it made the fortune of author John Willard, who lived to see it filmed no fewer than three times before his death in 1942. Even today the story remains a classic of its kind, inspiring a host of films that mix comedy, mystery, and horror--not to mention still more that focus on suspicious doings in old, dark houses. When questioned by author Gavin Lambert, director James Whale very specifically indicated that the 1927 film version, along with the 1928 THE LAST WARNING, influenced his own work in such films as FRANKENSTEIN and THE OLD DARK HOUSE.

Both THE CAT AND THE CANARY and THE LAST WARNING were created for Universal by director Paul Leni. But while THE LAST WARNING is not presently available to the home market, THE CAT AND THE CANARY most certainly is, and even some eighty years later is possible to see what all the fuss was about. In term of cinematography, CAT is a remarkably imaginative film, using a series of over-lapping images, close-ups, and dissolves to astonishing effect. In a visual sense it is easily one of the most stylish films of the silent era.

The plot is a classic of its kind. Like the original Willard play, the film's story mixes a host of already-clichéd ideas with several then-new ones. Today, of course, it can be a bit difficult to them apart! But even so it remains a fair amount of fun. An eccentric millionaire has been hounded to death by his greedy relatives--and when he dies he leaves behind a will that imposes a twenty year waiting period between his death and delivery of his estate to his heir. But who will the heir be? The candidates assemble to hear the will at midnight... and no sooner is the heir named than strange doings are afoot.

The characters are archetypes: the nice girl (Laura La Plante), the mild-mannered boy (Creighton Hale), the fashion princess (Gertrude Astor), the battle ax matron (Flora Finch), and so on. Perhaps most memorable is the housekeeper (Martha Mattox), an exceedingly dour woman most ironically named Mammy Pleasant! Add in an exasperated lawyer, a creepy doctor, secret passages, hairy hands with needle-like finger nails, stolen diamonds, and as many dashes of comedy as you can get away with, mix well, and you have the inspiration for a seemingly endless list of classic films.

Although they may seem overly broad by modern standards, the cast plays at the level of what was considered comic-realistic in the late silent era, the production values are first rate, and the plot is quirky enough in a silly sort of way to make the whole thing fun. But it is really the direction and the look of the thing that scores; in its best moments, THE CAT AND THE CANARY is plenty good indeed.

The film is available in several DVD releases. You should avoid the Alpha release; although the picture is passable, the score is so dire that it completely undermines the film. Although it clearly needs further restoration, the Image release is superior and offers your choice of scores, both of which work with the film rather than against it. Recommended for silent fans and those interested in the development of the classic horror film!

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer

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