The Location: Old Dark House.Continue reading “Fun Size Review: The Cat and the Canary (1927)”
Gallows humor wasn’t invented in the sound era. Silent films were more than capable of taking a dark turn, either for a joke or to crank up a scene’s tension.
Have you ever had someone (thinking they are terribly clever) look at you and ask, “Don’t you like any living actors?” Of course you have. Classic movie fans get this all the time. Sure, you can humor the louts but why not just give them an eerie grin and say what Martha Mattox says in The Cat and the Canary?
“I don’t need the living ones.”
As a bonus, you may scare away the pest, which is a very nice added feature. For maximum impact, shine a flashlight under your chin whilst standing in a dark room.
Availability: The Cat and the Canary is one of those silent films with a collection of very good home video options. The Photoplay restoration released by Kino features a lovely, crisp foreign-release print and a really first-rate score by Neil Brand. The Image release uses slightly less crisp American footage but there are subtle differences in the shots used. A real nerd should have both. A lesser nerd will be perfectly happy with either release.
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.