The Cat and the Canary (1927)


The movie The Cat and the Canary (1927) is a silent horror-comedy film directed by Paul Leni. The story unfolds in a gloomy mansion overlooking the Hudson River, where the wealthy Cyrus West’s relatives eagerly await his demise, likened to cats circling a canary. West, driven to insanity by their greed, decrees that his will should remain sealed in a safe until the 20th anniversary of his death. As the fateful day arrives, West’s lawyer, Roger Crosby, discovers a second will has mysteriously appeared in the safe, which can only be opened if the first will’s conditions are unmet.

As midnight draws near, West’s potential heirs gather at the mansion: nephews Harry Blythe, Charles “Charlie” Wilder, Paul Jones, his sister Susan Sillsby, her niece Cecily Young, and niece Annabelle West. The movie The Cat and the Canary (1927) sees Annabelle named as the main beneficiary, inheriting West’s fortune, under the condition that she is deemed sane. If not, an alternate heir, whose identity is sealed in an envelope, stands to inherit.

The plot thickens as Crosby vanishes before he can disclose the successor’s identity to Annabelle. This event marks the beginning of a series of mysterious occurrences, some implicating Annabelle’s instability. The family spends a harrowing night in the haunted mansion, stalked by an enigmatic figure, while a lunatic known as the Cat escapes from an asylum and takes refuge within the mansion’s walls.


  • Laura La Plante as Annabelle West
  • Creighton Hale as Paul Jones
  • Forrest Stanley as Charles Wilder
  • Tully Marshall as Roger Crosby
  • Gertrude Astor as Cecily Young
  • Flora Finch as Susan Sillsby
  • Arthur Edmund Carewe as Harry Blythe
  • Martha Mattox as Mammy Pleasant
  • George Siegmann as The Guard
  • Lucien Littlefield as Doctor Ira Lazar


Paul Leni, the German director of The Cat and the Canary, sadly passed away from blood poisoning shortly after the film’s release.

The film The Cat and the Canary (1927) was one of the few American horror films Paul Leni made and was influential to James Whale’s The Old Dark House [2].


“The Cat and the Canary will appeal to anyone who is in the mood for a good gothic horror comedy or gravitate towards films that explore greed and eccentricity. When the film was released in 1927, it was a huge success with both critics and audiences. Universal would soon establish itself as the leading studio for all things horror.” – [3]


[1] Wikipedia

[2] IMDb


Last updated byCody Meirick on December 2, 2023