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The Cat and the Canary (1927) (The Photoplay Restoration)
German horror stylist Paul Leni (Variety) brings his expressionist flourishes to this compendium of haunted clichés, creating one of the most stylish horror movie spoofs ever, a delightful mix of the gothic and the goofy. A greedy bunch of gargoyle-looking relatives (and a pair of young innocents) gather for the reading of a rich uncle's will, which demands that they spend the night in the creepy old mansion. Leni puts them through a fun house of frights: As if secret panels, clutching hands, and a stopped clock that mysteriously comes to life weren't enough, an escaped lunatic from a nearby asylum who rends his victims with catlike claws may have infiltrated the house. Silent movie sweetheart Laura La Plante is the canary of the title, a lovely would-be heiress who becomes the target of plotting relatives, but it's the rogues gallery of suspects that adds the color and comic relief. Leni kicks the film off with a delirious scene of an infirm old man surrounded by gigantic bottles of medicine and menaced by a snarling, spitting. gargantuan cat. The rest of the film is played in lower key, for laughs as much as chills, but it never loses its moody ambiance, highlighted by elegant camerawork and looming shadows. This classic has been remade three times, most famously by Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard in 1939, but never as well. The hilarious Harold Lloyd short Haunted Spooks has been included as a DVD bonus. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you enjoy old movies, don't miss this one! Beautiful production, great acting. Watching it was time well spent. Run, don't walk!Published on July 10 2013 by Dorothee Harmon
This silent film may rank high among those that are written about far more often than anybody ever sees them. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2001 by Robert M. Fells
This fascinating and suspenseful tale of melancholy blends top notch camera work with quintessential serendipity. Read morePublished on Sept. 29 2000 by talkytina
DVD releases of old silent films have tended to enjoy mixed fortunes - certain releases of 'Metropolis' and 'The Lodger' have received shockingly bad treatment. Read morePublished on July 16 2000 by Jesmat
I first saw this as a child and have never forgotten the thrill and fright. By todays standards it is probably a little hokey but it was fun to again see after so many years and... Read morePublished on Dec 3 1999 by Fred S. Ball