This week's mystery movie is "The Cat and the Canary" (1939), starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Any movie starring Bob Hope will be laced with comedic moments, and this one is no exception. Even so, the film very effectively evokes a sinister atmosphere with a setting in an isolated old mansion in the middle of a Louisiana bayou filled with alligators and an alleged escaped murderous lunatic from a nearby asylum. The relatives of a recently deceased millionaire have gathered at the mansion to hear the reading of his will, and of course they are stranded there until morning. Once again the ubiquitous George Zucco puts in an appearance as the family lawyer who plays host to the gathered group, and once again he meets his usual fate. This movie kept me guessing until the very end about the identity of the murderer, and the combination of humor and mystery is quite well done. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!
Interesting Facts: Academy Award winner Gale Sondergaard very effectively portrays the mysterious housekeeper in the movie. Her promising movie career was irreparably damaged when she supported her husband after he was accused of being a communist during the McCarthy era.
Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard starred together in another movie called "The Ghost Breakers" (1940), which is an entertaining comedy/horror film about a haunted castle in Cuba. Interestingly, in "The Cat and the Canary" Bob Hope takes a jab at Republicans (see part 3 starting at 8:38) while in "The Ghost Breakers" he makes a similar quip about Democrats, which you can see here (Hope was a lifelong Republican).
Gore Guide (0=none to 5=extreme): 0