One of the things I was most looking forward to watching at the theatre this Autumn was a touring production of the classic comic horror ‘The Cat and the Canary’. This was before lock down of course, and now this is something that I may have to wait a little longer for, but fortunately, Talking Pictures showed the 1978 version of the film last week and, although I don’t think this is the best version of the film, it is certainly a stylish one.
The Cat and the Canary has been filmed at least four times, with the classic version being the 1930’s version with Paulette Goddard and Bob Hope. The story is about 6 people, all possible heirs to a fortune, who are invited to a will reading that is taking place 20 years after the death of a millionaire. The beneficiary is revealed to be Annabelle West (Carol Lynley), but to claim her fortune she must survive a night in the house with all the other possible heirs and must be certified sane in the morning. And did I not mention that there is also a killer on the run who believes he’s a cat and may also be in the house…
The film is a good old fashioned, haunted house style thriller, and with it’s 1930’s setting, the costumes and the general look of the film are stylishly attractive. I love the style of Honor Blackman’s character, cousin Susan – very Lauren Bacall in it’s look, whilst Olivia Hussey, best known for Romeo and Juliet, is also very glamorous as Cicily Young. The long satin robes, neat suits, midi length skirts and the beautiful use of colour all combine to make this film great to look at if you are a lover of period fashions.
The Cat and the Canary would never win any awards for the greatest movie, and if you want to see the best version then opt for the black and white film, but if you just love luxurious, stylish movie style, this is definitely worth a look.