Paul Leni didn’t make many Hollywood films before his untimely death but the few he did make are pretty darn amazing. The Last Warning isn’t famous but it deserves to be, a delightful blend of German directing virtuosity and American star power.
Reginald Denny and Laura La Plante play a couple hoping to raise their standard of living. When Denny lies about a raise, La Plante goes shopping and all is well until the repo man comes calling. A perfectly delightful domestic comedy.
Murder most theatrical! A major star dies a mysterious death on the stage but when his body is stolen, the case goes cold. Years later, his best friend gathers the entire cast to restage the play in order to unmask the killer but someone wants to make darn sure that the show never goes on and their methods are rather… permanent…
Welcome back to After the Silents. This series focuses on the careers of silent movie personnel in sound films and talkie stars who had forgotten careers in the silents. Today, we’re going to be talking about one of the most distinct voices in the history of cinema.
The Cat and the Canary is a tried and true silent crowdpleaser. An old dark house comedy, it follows the adventures of a very eccentric group of people spending the night in, you guessed it, an old dark house. I am going to review the film but also share some background on director Paul Leni and the cast. Plus, I will be discussing the talkie revolution and the myths about silent to sound transition. Lots of good stuff, if I do say so myself.
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 and via streaming.
The Midnight Sun (1926)
Status: Complete 35mm print (end titles missing) in the UCLA film and television archive.
Why do eccentric millionaires always do this? Die and leave strange wills, that is. This time around, a group of would-be heirs gather to see who gets the cash. Murder ensues. Laura La Plante is the heiress who must solve the mystery before she is permanently eliminated from the succession.