This silent film may rank high among those that are written about far more often than anybody ever sees them. THE CAT AND THE CANARY is well worth the wait - in my case, it's been about 40 years between first reading a glowing account of the film and finally viewing it. And I wasn't disappointed. Of course, it requires a certain suspension of disbelief and I wondered why it was necessary to explain away everything as having a natural, and not supernatural, origin. Still, the film is great fun - sort of like going to a Halloween party.
Paul Leni's expressionistic directing does wonders with the story although its stage origins are apparent. Had Leni not died in 1929, I wonder what he might have done with DRACULA as early Universal publicity claimed he would direct it.
The DVD contains a great bonus of an early Harold Lloyd short, HAUNTED SPOOKS, from 1920. Consistently inventive, this film is chilling on its own terms because Lloyd lost the thumb and index finger of his right hand during the filming. He was posing for publicity photos and was holding a lighted but supposedly dud bomb. It went off. Despite his hospitalization and the obvious trauma he suffered, Lloyd was back at work on HAUNTED SPOOKS within a few weeks, wearing a flesh-colored glove on his right hand with a prosthetic thumb and finger. It's interesting to compare footage that is clearly "before and after" based on how he uses his right hand. This tragedy didn't stop Lloyd from making this film into a top comedy or from going on to be a star of feature films, enjoying a popularity that was second only to Charlie Chaplin. Now that's REAL determination!