Cat and the Canary, The (1927, USA) B&W-82m. *** D: Paul Leni. Starring Laura La Plante, Creighton Hale, Forrest Stanley, Tully Marshall, Gertrude Astor. Silent horror classic about several people who gather for the reading of the will in an eerie mansion. Amid the tension the news reaches them that a maniac is on the loose. Enjoyable fare, a prototype for its genre, with stunning expressionistic images and a good score. Based on the play by John Willard, which was filmed five more times, most notably in 1939 (with Bob Hope) and 1979 (with Edward Fox).

© Ron Altman