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Directed by Elliott Nugent
USA 1939

 

Comedy legend Bob Hope (My Favorite Brunette, Road to Morocco) is at his very best in the hilarious comedy-thriller The Cat and the Canary. A decade after the death of an eccentric millionaire, his remaining relatives gather for the reading of the will at his abandoned mansion set deep in the Louisiana bayous. Tension builds after his niece Joyce (Paulette Goddard, The Ghost Breakers) is named the sole inheritor and it is revealed that one of the other relatives will get everything if the heiress goes insane within the next 30 days. The timid Wally (Hope) vows to protect Joyce who must spend the night in the haunted mansion along with her jealous relatives, a creepy maid and a homicidal maniac who has just escaped from a nearby sanitarium. An equal mix of both frights and fun, this unforgettable classic has become the gold standard for the horror-comedy genre. Directed by Elliott Nugent (Nothing But the Truth) and based on the classic John Willard (The Mask of Fu Manchu) play.

***

Ten years after the death of millionaire Cyrus Norman, his will is to be read out to his six relatives, including Joyce Norman and Wally Campbell. Organized by Norman's lawyer, Crosby, the six meet at Norman's eerie New Orleans Gothic mansion. During the reading, the superstitious housekeeper declares that someone will be dead by midnight. Wally fears for Joyce when she is declared the sole inheritor, but all are alarmed when Crosby turns up dead.

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 27th, 1939

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Also, coming to Blu-ray, in a two disc edition with Ghost Breakers, by Imprint in October 2020:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:14:40.476        
Video

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,566,081,081 bytes

Feature: 20,536,080,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1554 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1554 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 21,566,081,081 bytes

Feature: 20,536,080,384 bytes

Video Bitrate: 33.00 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

NEW Audio Commentary by Author/Film Historian Lee Gambin
Theatrical Trailer (3:40)


Blu-ray Release Date:
September 15th, 2020
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (September 2020): Kino have transferred Elliott Nugent's The Cat and the Canary to Blu-ray. There is plenty of light damage in the form of marks, scratches and speckles. The short-ish feature is on a single-layered disc with a very high bitrate and the contrast is exported very pleasingly. Grain textures and depth are both present and the HD presentation is well ahead of SD. I had no issues on my system with the 1080P visuals.

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a DTS-HD Master dual- track (16-bit) in the original English language. There are a few effects and an enjoyable score by Dr. Ernst Toch (Address Unknown, Dr. Cyclops) that leans more to the horror aspects of the film than the comedy. Kino offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by author/film historian Lee Gambin. Lee discusses the 1927 Paul Leni version of The Cat and the Canary, the studio's leaning to the mix of 'humor and fright' with the eventual 1948 Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and he relates much more involving Hope, Goddard and the supporting cast. It's at his usual, rewarding, level and he provides a wealth of information. There is a trailer for the film and a few other trailers of similar movies.

The Cat and the Canary is good old-fashioned fun but I appreciated the fright-fest side of the film more than the humor (although Hope's one-liners are great) with a dramatic, spooky conclusion. There is great lighting, plenty of dark corridors, underground passageways and shadows in the old mansion.  Really, I will watch this Kino Blu-ray again one day... and the Gambin commentary is a worthy addition. Another great package that we can endorse for vintage film fans. I'd have liked a Blu-ray boxset of these Hope / Goddard flics.

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Bonus Captures:

Also, coming to Blu-ray, in a two disc edition with Ghost Breakers, by Imprint in October 2020:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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