“The Cat and the Canary” silent film to be screened in Claremont

silent film
Laura LaPlante is menaced in “The Cat and the Canary” (1927), a haunted house thriller from Hollywood’s silent era. Photo provided

CLAREMONT, N.H. – “The Cat and the Canary” (1927), a haunted house thriller from Hollywood’s silent film era, will be screened with live music Sunday, Oct. 13 as part of the Claremont Historical Society’s annual meeting.

The meeting, which is free and open to the public, starts at 4 p.m. at Union Church Parish Hall, 133 Old Church Rd. in Claremont. After a business meeting, the movie is expected to begin about 4:30 p.m. Live music for the movie will be provided by silent film accompanist Jeff Rapsis.

“The Cat and the Canary” stands as the original movie thriller – the first picture to feature the reading of a will in a haunted mansion complete with clutching hands, a masked killer, disappearing bodies, and secret passageways.

Silent film starlet Laura LaPlante leads the cast as a young heiress who must spend the night in the creepy old mansion, which is filled with relatives who all have motives to frighten her out of her wits. Meanwhile, a dangerous escaped lunatic is loose on the grounds. Can she and the others make it through the night?

Created for Universal Pictures by German filmmaker Paul Leni and based on a hit stage play, “The Cat and the Canary” proved popular enough to inspire several remakes, including one starring Bob Hope.

Rapsis, a composer who specializes in creating music for silent film, will improvise the score on the spot during the screening. “Silent film is all about the audience experience, and this one is a perfect Halloween crowd-pleaser,” Rapsis said. “It has something for everyone – spooky scenes, some good comedy, and it’s all fine for the whole family.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more info about the music, visit www.jeffrapsis.com.

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