The Cat and the Canary (1927) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary (1927)

The Cat and the Canary



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Frank Willard's barn-storming stage melodrama Cat and the Canary was filmed four times over a fifty-year period. This silent 1927 version stars Laura LaPlante as one of several potential heirs to a huge fortune. Brought to a foreboding mansion on the 20th anniversary of their eccentric benefactor's death, the heirs must sit in silence as the lawyer (Tully Marshall) recites the terms of the will. The legacy hinges upon three sealed letters, each to be opened at a strategic point in the evening. Also crucial to the inheritance is the insistence that all the heirs spend the night in the creepy old mansion. Nervous Creighton Hale appoints himself LaPlante's protector--a far from simple job, given the many hidden panels and revolving doors which festoon the house. When the lawyer is murdered, LaPlante is the principle suspect. Cat and the Canary was remade as The Cat Creeps in 1930, and under its own title in 1939 (with Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard) and 1979.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Horror, Mystery & Suspense, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Robert F. Hill, Alfred A. Cohn
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 13, 1998
Universal Pictures


Laura La Plante
as Annabelle West
Laura Laplante
as Annabelle West
Creighton Hale
as Paul Jones
Tully Marshall
as Roger Crosby
Forrest Stanley
as Charlie Wilder
Gertrude Astor
as Cecily Young
Flora Finch
as Susan Sillsby
Martha Mattox
as Mammy Pleasant
Lucien Littlefield
as Dr. Patterson
Joe Murphy
as Milkman
Billy Engle
as Taxi Driver
George Siegmann
as Hendricks
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Cat and the Canary

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

[This] adroitly atmospheric film is virtually an ideogram of narrative suspension and impact, and it's a lovely, musty, nightened place to visit.

Full Review… | October 20, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

What makes Canary sing is Leni's pioneering mix of spooky expressionism and light comedy, fabulous camera work, and nice turns from Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, and Martha Mattox.

Full Review… | October 20, 2014
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

It is not only in actual cinematic effects that Mr. Leni's work is telling; there are sequences in the story which reveal his absolute command of the players.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Hugely entertaining.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Like most spoofs, it wears thin fairly quickly.

Full Review… | April 26, 2001
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Plays with cinematic form and representation like few movies of any style have gotten away with under the aegis of a big Hollywood studio.

Full Review… | June 4, 2015
Antagony & Ecstasy

Audience Reviews for The Cat and the Canary

This isn't just one of those average murder mysteries where the family vies for the inheritance of the old man's will, it's actually got ghosts and a ghoulish hand creeping everyone out, and a guy who's on the look out for a maniac that escaped from the loony bin. This movie is creepy and funny, I enjoyed it, and I recommend it.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


An early horror-comedy that takes place in old mansion. Several people gather 20 years after a benefactor's death to hear the reading of the will to learn who will inherit the great fortune. People start dying; hilarity ensues.


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