The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Description: The classic old dark house motif is given sterling treatment in this second filmed version of the hit play. Bob Hope's status as a star was assured with his role as Wallie Campbell, the cowardly protector of Joyce Norman (Paulette Goddard), who must spend one night in the eerie mansion of her late, eccentric, millionaire uncle. If she can make it through the night without losing her mind, Joyce stands to inherit her uncle's entire fortune. Of course, all the other potential heirs now have a motive to drive her insane. The frights are nonstop as hands reach out from nowhere, people disappear between trap doors, the halls echo with terrifying sounds, and secret doorways lead to hidden passageways. Three people are murdered before Wallie solves the mystery and sees Goddard through the night. Hope integrates his wiseacre comedic style into a essentially straight role, with the humor well-placed in the otherwise moody material. Creepy lighting and music also aid director Elliott Nugent in crafting an effective and fun version of one the genre's archetypal stories.~ Don Kaye, All Movie Guide
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