The Cat and the Canary (1927 film)

Silent horror film by Paul Leni / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Cat and the Canary is a 1927 American silent comedy horror film directed by the German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni. An adaptation of John Willard's 1922 black-comedy play of the same name, the film stars Laura La Plante as Annabelle West, Forrest Stanley as Charlie Wilder, and Creighton Hale as Paul Jones. The plot revolves around the death of Cyrus West, who is Annabelle, Charlie, and Paul's uncle, and the reading of his will twenty years later. Annabelle inherits her uncle's fortune, but when she and her family spend the night in his haunted mansion, they are stalked by a mysterious figure. Meanwhile, a lunatic mainly known as the Cat escapes from an asylum and hides in the mansion.

Quick facts: The Cat and the Canary, Directed by, Screenpl...
The Cat and the Canary
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Leni
Screenplay by
Story by
Based onThe Cat and the Canary
by John Willard
Produced byPaul Kohner
CinematographyGilbert Warrenton
Edited byMartin G. Cohn
Music byHugo Riesenfeld
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 9, 1927 (1927-09-09)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent film / English intertitles
The Cat and the Canary

The film is part of the genre of comedy horror films inspired by 1920s Broadway stage plays. Leni's adaptation of Willard's play blended expressionism with humor, a style for which Leni was notable and recognized by critics as unique. His directing style made The Cat and the Canary influential in the "old dark house" genre of films popular from the 1930s through the 1950s. The film was one of Universal's early horror productions and is considered "the cornerstone of Universal's school of horror".[1] The play has been filmed five other times, most notably in 1939, starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.