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Cat And The Canary (Silent)

This vintage terror tale remains a frightening cinematic classic and blueprint for all haunted house thrillers.
3.8K ratings
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Format:  DVD-R
sku:  ALP 4293D
Brand New
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DVD Features:

  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 41 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released: March 23, 2004
  • Originally Released: 1927
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , &
Performer: , &
Directed by
Music by
Composition by
Cinematography by

Entertainment Reviews:


Total Count: 16


User Ratings: 1,152
...Now released in a new transfer....[A] pioneering mix of spooky expressionism and light comedy, fabulous camera work, and nice turns [from the cast]... -- Rating: A-
Entertainment Weekly
Oct 16, 1998
Rating: B -- Stylishly well-executed old-fashioned horror-suspense thriller that's laced with a macabre humor. Full Review
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Jun 26, 2006
Like most spoofs, it wears thin fairly quickly. Full Review
Chicago Reader
Apr 26, 2001
The actors were well-chosen and their work is remarkable. [Full Review in Spanish] Full Review
Sep 10, 2019
Rating: 9/10 -- 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
Antagony & Ecstasy
Jun 4, 2015
Rating: 3.5/5 -- Not exactly a horror film, at least by any strict definition. But it is a great deal of fun. Full Review
Goatdog's Movies
Sep 20, 2008
Rating: 4/5 -- Moodily shot, this classic "old dark house" picture is played mostly for laughs. Full Review
Radio Times
Oct 20, 2014

Description by

The grotesque and sinister mansion of the late Cyrus West has stood empty for twenty years - until tonight. On this stormy evening, the eccentric millionaire's will is to be read, and his greedy potential heirs gather in the cobwebbed halls of the foreboding gothic manor. Cyrus' disdain for his money-hungry relatives is evident when he bequeaths his fortune to his most distant relation, the lovely Anabelle West. But Cyrus has placed an unusual clause in his will. Anabelle must be proven to be sane in order for her to collect the money and, if she is not, the untold wealth will go to another heir whose name remains sealed in an envelope. When the family lawyer attempts to warn Anabelle who this other heir is, he mysteriously vanishes. Meanwhile, a homicidal maniac is loose in the house, a killer with the claws of a crazed feline. Anabelle finds herself much like a frightened canary...surrounded by hungry cats!

Among the first and very best films of the genre, The Cat And The Canary is a masterpiece of early cinematic horror. Universal Pictures, flush with success from silent horror classics The Phantom Of The Opera and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, commissioned German director Paul Leni (Waxworks) to bring The Cat And The Canary, a hit stage play, to the screen. His work is now considered a silent film classic and the movie served as a blueprint for haunted house thrillers for decades to come. The film's ground-breaking combination of atmospheric chills and tension-breaking humor was said to have inspired director James Whale who incorporated the same elements in his legendary movies The Old Dark House and The Bride Of Frankenstein. Genre fans will appreciate the opening sequence in which gloved hands brush away spider webs to reveal the title, an effect used fifteen years later in Universal's Son Of Dracula.

Product Description:

In this silent horror classic, young Anabelle West is set to inherit a fortune from her eccentric relative -- if she can prove that she is sane! In the event that she cannot inherit the money, another relative, whose identity is kept secret, will step in to take her place. Needless to say, shortly after the reading of the will, chaos breaks loose when the family attorney disappears and Anabelle finds herself the target of a murderous killer with the claws of a cat!


Production Notes:

  • A silent film.
This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating:
Based on 3862 ratings.
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Perfect Hair Movie Lover: from Brick, NJ -- June, 17, 2005

I love to watch this movie. It's full of little things that add up to a worthwhile experience. Creighton Hale's antics may seem overdone, but he still entertains. "Aunt Susan" is an annoying character that is sure to remind you of someone in your own family. Her response to the police officer's command to join him on the motorcycle is priceless. The "doctor" who shows up in the early morning hours gives a performance that looks serious but comes across as comical. The character of "Mammy Pleasant" looks like she could be a distant relative of Senator John Kerry. But the most surprising part of this movie is Laura La Plante's perfect hair.

If you've seen many silient movies (and I have), you have no doubt noticed that silent movie actresses of the 1920's came to work on bad-hair day, every day. It's typical for a silent film actress's hair to look frizzy and wind-blown, even when she's inside a studio. The hair styling techniques we've grown used to now were not available then. But Laura La Plante's hair is very different; I can only guess that she came by this naturally at a time when it was rare. Perhaps she inpired many in the hair-care industry to find a way to make everyone's hair look that good. And maybe they succeeded.

And if you watch this movie, maybe you'll notice some worthwhile (or simply amusing) things that I missed.

Cat and the Canary Movie Lover: from clamart, Hauts-de-Seine FR -- April, 23, 2004

Not bad, but somewhat overlong and hampered by dated editing techniques. Exterior of the "haunted house" is awful, but interiors, including a long hallway lined with full-length windows and billowing curtains, are better. Called the first of its kind, there have been much better versions of the comic-old dark house theme.

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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 6,178
  • UPC: 089218429391
  • Shipping Weight: 0.27/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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