Starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale
July 1927

Here is a corking melodrama. Mysterious fingers reach out of mouldy draperies to steal jewels, and trick bookcases swallow up unsuspecting victims.

It all happens in an old, shabby mansion once occupied by the eccentric recluse, Cyrus West. It is exactly twenty years from the date of his death to the second and his will is being read to his anxious relatives while a storm beats upon the broken windows.

It develops that Annabelle West, his pretty niece, is the heiress, provided she sleeps that night in his dusty, cobwebby bedroom and is able to prove her sanity next morning. Annabelle's sanity gets a stiff test, we'll tell the world, between disappearances and murders. To help things along, an asylum keeper happens in, searching for a runaway maniac.

Of course, there is a guilty person who hopes to inherit the estate. This person is the instigator of the dire doings.

"The Cat and the Canary" is adroitly directed by Paul Leni, the German who made "The Three Wax Works." He uses trick angles galore, but they all help the atmosphere of mystery and murder. Leni is a director to be reckoned with.

"The Cat and the Canary," which, by the way, is based on John Willard's Broadway mystery shocker, has an excellent cast. Laura La Plante is the blonde heroine, Annabelle. Creighton Hale overdoes the nervous comedy hero, Paul Jones. Indeed, the comedy is the one weak element in "The Cat and the Canary." Well done bits are contributed by Lucien Littlefield and Martha Mattox.

Starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale
August 1927

It is very spooky entertainment which is measured out in the "The Cat and the Canary." Like the mystery melodrama from which it is adapted, it sends shivers of suspense up and down the spine in its play of creepy incidents and situations.

It isn't the easiest task in the world to translate this type of play for the movies. The characters are apt to become so well shuffled that it's hard keeping track of them. But the theme is fairly easy to follow here - the only difficulty being to establish the identity of the crook - who, as usual is the last person in the world you would suspect.

The picture calls for much atmosphere - such as trick lighting effects and what not. And the players adopt expressions which register as unalloyed fright. Naturally, the spectator is placed in the embracing arm of suspense, it being the purpose of the various characters to prevent anyone from doing Sherlock Holmes.

You can put it down as an excellent mystery picture - one acted right up to the handle by Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, George Seigmann, Arthur Edmund Carewe and others.

Return to reviews page