The Cat and the Canary (1978)

January 7th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Radley Metzger | Cast: Wilfrid Hyde-White, Honor Blackman, Olivia Hussey, Edward Fox | US Drama

While John Willard’s original play was produced in 1922, this version updates the action to 1934 (which still predates the Bob Hope classic by five years).

Whereas the mansion in the earller films had been dark and covered in cobwebs, here it is vast but tinny, hopelessly overlit and decked out in what Honor Blackman sardonically describes as “my favourite period, early Devil’s Island!”

But as seventies remakes go however it could be a lot worse, and making Lawyer Crosbie a woman is a bright idea (especially as she’s played by Wendy Hiller). Beatrix Lehman makes a memorably spooky housekeeper as the ironically named Mrs Pleasant, while the depiction of mean old millionaire Wilfred Hyde White at the film’s conclusion makes a novel use of colour. @RichardChatten

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