Groping, desperately hoping for a way out!


The Cat and The Canary
1939 | B&W | 72 Min | 1.37:1 | NA | Mono | Horror Comedy | Paramount Pictures

Source: Svengoolie


Director: Elliott Nugent

Writers: Walter DeLeon

Stars: 
Bob Hope
Paulette Goddard
John Beal

Ten years have passed since the death of millionaire, Cyrus Norman. Cosby, Cyrus' attorney, has gathered Cyrus' 6 remaining relatives to his New Orleans' mansion for Cyrus' "reading of the will". To the others disappointment, Joyce is the sole heir, but, due to a streak of insanity running in the family, a second will have been made in case Joyce falls victim to it. This puts Joyce in danger. Suddenly, Miss Lu, Cyrus' maid, appears and warns them that the spirits have told her that one of them will die that night. Following this, Hendrick, a prison guard, warns them that, "The Cat", a homicidal maniac has escaped. This sets up Cyrus' relatives with a night filled with murders, mysteries, and intrigue.

Caught up with another episode of Svengoolie this week was Bob Hope and the very easy on the eyes Paulette Goodard aka Mrs. Halloween. With a crazy plot and whacked out family the pace of this movie clips along fast! I could not believe that it was over, I also can not believe that it held my attention this long. Or was it the Svengoolie bits mixed it as he was on his game with quite a few zingers. 


The young and old cast play out very well together leaving you with a sense of them being distant relatives. What I did not understand or miss understood was the relationship's between them. If they are related what is up with the underlined love story? I'm really Hope and Goodard dated when they were younger and kiss during the movie?? I know things were strange back in the 20's when this was a stage play then a silent movie but really kissing cousins? And speaking of the 1930's version The Cat Creeps Elizabeth Patterson played the role of Susan in both this and the first sound version of the story,


I did really like the look and feel of the movie and its swap area and old house. You can really feel the cold damp air as you watch. The house was just as much of a charter as the cast. Not really much in the way of a soundtrack it is there but never really overpowering and nothing memorable. For the fist time in a long time, I did not see the whole ending coming the way that it did! Something from the 30's had me stumped get out of here!


Now here is what did bug me, Bob Hope! I just wanted him to shut up at times I mean really did he have to crack jokes every few minutes? And the jokes were just ok never really a part of the movie. And it all starts when we meet his character. Don't get me wrong he was good for this movie and his dim-witted jokes never really take you out of the movie he just was not my favorite part. 

The Cat and The Canary is a very good Hunted House thriller that does get you in the end! Great cast, fantastic setting, and a very good story as well. If you ever have the chance to catch this in reruns later this year I say give this one a shot.

3 Bloody Brains out of 5
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Comments

  1. I caught this last week on Svengoolie thanks to your post. I'd never seen it before and enjoyed it a lot. It was one of Hope's earlier films, so I guess he hadn't quite got the patter down. He always needed someone to play off of, Bing for example. Bob and Claudette Colbert's characters were supposed to be distant cousins, but I thought the same thing.

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