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The Cat and the Canary

I watched an Elliott Nugent film yesterday — and it was a really screwy screwball comedy. And I see I have two more films by Nugent here, so here goes.

This seems like it’s more of a… comedy horror film? It starts off like a kinda-sorta serious thriller, I guess…

Well, there’s Bob Hope, so the jokes should commence soon…


Leading lady arrived, too.

Well, this doesn’t seem to be a screwball comedy. Instead it’s, well, one of them there slightly meta comedy horror films? It’s amusing, but I haven’t laughed yet…

See? Slightly meta.


This is very amiable indeed, but it feels oddly padded. I mean, it’s a 75 minute long movie, so you’d expect it to zip along. And the script has good bones — everything you need for something like this, and the actors are great. But it’s like they had a finished script with lots of asterisks for “perhaps Bob can improv a gag here?” and then Bob didn’t. So you get scenes that seem to lack zip.

But people really like it:

This has always been one of my top10 favourite films, since I first saw it in 1972, at least 14 times since. Bob Hope was still a little green at this stage, but you can almost see (and hear) him coming of age in CATC, his comic delivery technique and timing noticeably improved by the end.

And I do see how this could be somebody’s favourite movie… it’s got something going on. So perhaps it’s just me…

Yes, that’s how you should look going to bed.


But… no. I mean, I like this movie. It’s fine. But it’s not all there. So:

The Cat and the Canary. Elliott Nugent. 1939.

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