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"The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Old 09-29-10, 10:02 PM
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"The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3



The Cat and the Canary (1927)



IMDB PAGE

Selected by Mister Peepers.

Netflix Streaming Link

These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 Films in 31 Days Subset.

Main Discussion Thread | The List Thread

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in these discussion threads, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

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Old 10-03-10, 01:36 AM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Thanks to Mister Peepers for suggestings this otherwise I might not have checked it out. I really enjoyed this fillm and found a lot of the overacting (characteristic of silent films) funny. This film reminded me of a lot of other movies which I'm sure ripped it off. It was sort of like a Scooby Doo precusor. I wonder if Nightmare on Elm Street Wes Craven got an idea or two from this. The Mammy Pleasant character was especially eerie and well played.
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Old 10-03-10, 02:06 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Very enjoyable film with wonderful cinematography.
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Old 10-03-10, 08:00 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I enjoyed the heck out of this. Terrific use of tinting. Loved all the hand movements, and the viewer POV "hand talking" was really cool.
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Old 10-03-10, 09:52 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Glad people liked it. I didn't really expect it to be that fun the first time I watched it but that was one of the better silent films I've run across in a long time.
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Old 10-03-10, 11:02 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

An early entre in the Universal horror series, elements of this film may seem cliché now but, hey, you got to begin somewhere. This is what we call a genre starter. Wiki says this isn’t the first haunted house film but it has to be close to being the first and, if anything, must be the first of the “invite a group of guests to stay the night inside said haunted house in an effort to gain great riches” type of film. The Cat and the Canary surly can be said to have influenced everything from House on Haunted Hill to Scooby-doo to Clue. Heck, come to think of it, the familiar “G-gg-g-g-ghost!” ever present in anything Casper is even here. Maybe I’m not far off the mark to think that this film was in mind when Shaggy was first inked. Hidden panels, secret passage ways, madman escaped from the asylum…yes, been done to death but it all started here. If kicking off the familiar spooky house genre isn’t enough, this film was also influential to horror comedy. Sadly, this film suffers from classic over-acting found in early silent films. There are times when we are supposed to be spooked but find ourselves chuckling. Still, the comedic-dramatic aside, this film is a stepping stone for what was to come in the “old dark house” genre. Best of all, because of this film, decades later, we were given the greatest episode of the Flinstones: A Haunted House Is Not a Home. Watch for Stanley Spedowski’s cameo as a helpful milkman.
Rating: ***
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Old 10-04-10, 10:46 AM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I like the silent era of films and this is one that I had wanted to see but never watched before. I'm glad to have seen it as it was very atmospheric but I thought it suffered from overacting also. Great cinematography.
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Old 10-04-10, 11:27 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I'm a huge fan of silent horror, glad this was recommended for the film subsets. There's such a strong spooky atmosphere in these silents, the way they look. Nothing screams Halloween more than a spooky house movie like this one with the secret corridors, creepy maid and a lunatic loose in the house somewhere. Would have liked more usage out of the "monster", his hand was a nice creepy image in this film.

Originally Posted by Undeadcow View Post
The Mammy Pleasant character was especially eerie and well played.
Yeah, she's one of my favorite things from the movie. Such a severe look about her.
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Old 10-05-10, 12:09 AM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

The Cat and the Canary is my favorite silent horror film for many reasons, including the genuinely creepy mood set in the first shots of the film and the animated intertitles. Like others above, I'm also terribly fond of the character of Mammy Pleasant, whose name is diametrically opposed to her demeanor. Too bad director Paul Leni died only two years after making this film, as I'm sure he would have been a major player in the horror boom of the 1930s. As it stands, this is still one of the top early horror films. It's no wonder it's been remade several times.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:51 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

A nice silent era psychological horror movie. I liked the addition of so many non standard dialouge frames. Clearly influenced all of the "spend one night in the haunted mansion" films that have followed it. The creepy hand and opening bookcases even reminded me of the opening credits to classic Scooby Doo, where most of the ghosts were fake too! I still prefer the silent monsters more than the ghosts, but a good old story is a good old story.
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Old 10-05-10, 11:12 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I enjoyed this one as well. I'm not the patient type who typically enjoys silent films but I found this one intriguing and never felt the urge to hit the fast forward button which is unusual for me. Lots of good intentional humor and as many have already mentioned, some unintentional.

My rating: *** out of *****
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Old 10-07-10, 10:07 AM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I'm ashamed to say I've never seen this film, but I have seen the remake from '78. It's very unlike me to be familiar with a remake and not the original.
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Old 10-08-10, 01:51 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Add another to the list who really dug this. Not much else to add that hasn't already been said - great spooky atmosphere, the cinematography is top notch ...love it.

Originally Posted by ViewAskewbian View Post
An early entre in the Universal horror series, elements of this film may seem cliché now but, hey, you got to begin somewhere. This is what we call a genre starter. Wiki says this isn’t the first haunted house film but it has to be close to being the first and, if anything, must be the first of the “invite a group of guests to stay the night inside said haunted house in an effort to gain great riches” type of film. The Cat and the Canary surly can be said to have influenced everything from House on Haunted Hill to Scooby-doo to Clue. Heck, come to think of it, the familiar “G-gg-g-g-ghost!” ever present in anything Casper is even here. Maybe I’m not far off the mark to think that this film was in mind when Shaggy was first inked. Hidden panels, secret passage ways, madman escaped from the asylum…yes, been done to death but it all started here. If kicking off the familiar spooky house genre isn’t enough, this film was also influential to horror comedy. Sadly, this film suffers from classic over-acting found in early silent films. There are times when we are supposed to be spooked but find ourselves chuckling. Still, the comedic-dramatic aside, this film is a stepping stone for what was to come in the “old dark house” genre. Best of all, because of this film, decades later, we were given the greatest episode of the Flinstones: A Haunted House Is Not a Home. Watch for Stanley Spedowski’s cameo as a helpful milkman.
Rating: ***
And speaking of clichés, this one has plenty that were abundant in the '30s and '40s - the goofy stuttering guy (g-g-g-g-ghosts!), the accusatory old lady that's offended by everything, the man that's afraid of his own shadow, etc. Unfortunately even classics like "Frankenstein" were plagued by these completely out of place (IMO) comedic moments with the accompanying "wa wa" music or the slide whistle. Yet another reason the lack of dialogue really enhances this film.
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Old 10-10-10, 06:49 AM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

Originally Posted by rabidgoatboy View Post
I'm ashamed to say I've never seen this film, but I have seen the remake from '78. It's very unlike me to be familiar with a remake and not the original.
Same here, I usually insist on seeing the original before seeing any remake.

However, in this case, I'm pretty sure I saw the Bob Hope version (1939) on cable at some point in my life. It was quite good iirc. How is the 1978 version? There are a few other versions as well.
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Old 10-10-10, 11:30 PM
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Re: "The Cat and the Canary" Reviews/Discussion - 2010 Horror Challenge: Day 3

I finally finished watching this tonight... started it late one night last week and just couldn't stay awake (no fault of the movie at all).

I'm glad i finally got through it because I loved it. I'm not sure what else I can say that hasn't already been mentioned in this thread... I loved the creepy atmosphere of the house: the dark hallways with the drapes blowing in, the secret passageways, etc. It was also great to see all the things that were clearly an inspiration to future horror movies.

When they say "they don't make 'em like they used to," they ain't kidding.
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