Fun Size Review: The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Location: Old Dark House.

Time: Dark and Stormy Night.

The Will: Laura La Plante will inherit a fortune if she can prove she is sane.

The Problem: One of the many guests present is determined to drive her insane– and murder anyone who gets in the way!

Thrills, chills, laughs, gorgeous cinematography and more character actors than you can shake a femur at. A great introduction to silent films.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
The murderer reveals himself and it’s… Cousin Charles! Laura La Plante gets out safe and sane.

If it were a desert it would be: Turtle trifle. Dark, fun and full of nuts.

Ready my full-length review here.

Availability: Released on DVD.

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9 Replies to “Fun Size Review: The Cat and the Canary (1927)”

  1. One of my favorite films to show friends any time of year, but especially on Halloween- THE classic Old Dark House movie!

    Had never heard of Turtle trifle, but after reading the description, it’s Cat and the Canary to a T. “Dark, fun, and full of nuts”……oh yeah, and thanks for the morning chuckle 🙂

  2. Thanks for the tip about the Kino DVD. I had been thinking about replacing my TCM-recorded tape of this charming film with the Image disc (Mont Alto Orchestra) but this one sounds fine. Not sure how easy it is to get hold of the Image version anyway.

    Frankly, my favorite spooky house films are talkies: “The Old Dark House” (wittiest script) and “The Ghost Breakers” (great atmosphere, good chemistry between Hope & Goddard). But the 1927 C&C has the Paul Leni magic, as you note. Another silent I like in this line is “Seven Footsteps to Satan” (the most grotesque, & at last available with ENGLISH title cards).

    In the last few weeks I re-watched–definitely for the last time!– the two dullest specimens of the type: the first two “Bat” movies.There’s some fantastic cinematography in both, & at least in the silent you can’t HEAR the perpetually shrieking maid. But even if you take them as tongue-in-cheek they don’t work, in my opinion–as “The Old Dark House” gloriously does.

  3. I love the way the spires and turrets of the house morph into medicine bottles.
    Is it possible to get The Bat and its sequel on dvd? I’ve heard so much about them, but never seen either.

    1. Alas, the only home video edition of The Bat I know about is smeary and almost unwatchable. The talkie remake was released on DVD by Kino but has since gone out of print.

    2. Turner Classic Movies owns a decent print of “The Bat Whispers” & has aired it as recently as a few years ago. I don’t know if they have “The Bat.” I bought a watchable copy from what at the time was a wonderfully rich source for silent films on tape: Foothill Video. But it has gone the way of Blackhawk Films.

  4. I wound up catching this movie on my Film Detective app for my IPhone…wonderful movie, although I may pick up the Kino version because, well, it’s Kino.

    1. I definitely recommend the Kino edition. It’s a full restoration using multiple tinted prints and the score by Neil Brand is worth the price of admission alone.

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