Cape May is America’s oldest seaside resort; it has welcomed visitors for generations with its hospitality and Victorian charm. Combine Cape May’s location, architecture and hospitality with its year round calendar of cultural, and family-friendly events, and it’s clear that this is a destination for all seasons.
For one night only, East Lynne Theater Company presents the 1927 silent horror/comedy classic, "The Cat and the Canary," with live organ accompaniment provided by Wayne Zimmerman.
Based on John Willard's popular 1922 Broadway play, the film stars Laura La Plante and was directed by German Expressionist filmmaker Paul Leni, who successfully blended horror with humor in what is considered the first successful "haunted house" film. This film is also the first of six adaptations of the play; the most notable being the 1939 film starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard.
The plot revolves around Annabelle West, who can only inherit her Uncle Cyrus's fortune if she is proved to be of sound mind. When she spends the night in her relative's old mansion overlooking the Hudson River, she begins to fear for her sanity. Is it because of the ghost of Cyrus West - or something else?
Laura La Plante began her film career at age 15 in 1919, and by 1921 had played a number of roles. She was one of the leading stars at Universal who successfully made the transition from silent to sound, and played Magnolia in "Show Boat" in 1929. In 1930, she moved to England where she appeared in a few films, but when she returned to Hollywood in 1935, she retired from the movie industry.
Paul Leni was born in 1885 in Stuttgart, Germany, and was a stage designer for Max Reinhart and Leopold Jessner before going into film, where he made his mark as a director for gothic tales.
Providing his own original musical accompaniment is Wayne Zimmerman, who has been playing for ELTC's silent film series since 2011. He has played in a variety of venues from coast-to-coast and in Hawaii, regaling audiences with his silent film accompaniment and concerts. At varying times he's served as organist at the Lansdowne Theatre in Lansdowne, PA, the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, PA, the Brookline Theatre in Havertown, PA, the Merlin Theatre in suburban Philadelphia, and the president of the Delaware Valley Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society.