The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The Cat and the Canary

The Cat and the Canary is a 1927 silent horror film directed by Paul Leni and starring Laura La Plante and Creighton Hale. It is a pretty good, but not great horror flick.

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That clock hasn’t struck in twenty years – since the old man died!

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

The plot is very good and actually quite detailed for a horror film. The movie has a very mysterious and atmospheric quality to it while consistently being a lot of fun. I liked most of the developments here and of course the monster is very memorable and with an interesting, scary for the time look to him.

The Cat and the Canary is a very modern film for better and for worse, certainly hugely influential. That means that the film is very atmospheric and actually scary in a way as it features very modern storytelling and even an early use of jump scares which was certainly unusual for a 1920s horror film.

However, there is also a bad side to its influential and contemporary nature. I am of course talking about an incredible amount of action scenes and a very frenetic pacing which is certainly modern, but I do not like that which is why the film suffered from it. A slower pace and a longer running time were definitely needed this time around.

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

As for its humor, it is solid. The film is never truly funny and its mix of horror and comedy is problematic, but certainly original for the time and actually quite interesting. It led to a film that never took itself too seriously which was a departure from other horrors of the time and that makes it more memorable and admirable.

Creighton Hale is the only funny actor here as his character is very amusing. He was definitely modeled after Harold Lloyd. But others aren’t all that interesting and the female characters here were not as strong as the male ones are. But Laura La Plante is very memorable in her role and certainly the acting in this movie is quite strong as everyone was fun and gave pretty stellar performances. It’s a shame that it has too many characters and not that great development for them, though solid for this genre for sure.

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The Cat and the Canary Movie Review………………………………………………..

I particularly liked The Cat and the Canary’s technical aspects and those sell this movie in my honest opinion. The old dark house trope here is well utilized owing to a superbly looking house filled with a great attention to detail. And its rooms and corridors are well explored thanks to the fine work of Gilbert Warrenton whose cinematography work here is truly phenomenal. The film is definitely spooky and fun and even though I liked the build-up more than the actual conclusion, the overall storyline was certainly pretty good and meticulously crafted and told. To me the intertitles were the most memorable thing about this film as they are some of the most inventive of any silent film featuring such a clever way to compensate for the lack of sound by having letters enlarge and come at you and even having vibrating letters to increase tension. The effect was achieved tremendously and it strengthened the film in the process to being quite remarkable.

The Cat and the Canary has too many characters and it is influential and modern for better and for worse as it is fun and having a lot of jump scares and modern thrills while also being too action oriented and frenetic in pacing. But the plot is well told and quite detailed actually, the cinematography is stellar, the humor and acting are solid and the strong, spooky atmosphere is achieved through the use of some of the most clever and inventive intertitles in any silent film.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1920s, 1927, FILM DECADES, Horror, MOVIE REVIEWS, Silent and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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