The Cat Creeps

1930

When an heiress, (Twelvetrees), arrives at a remote mansion to claim her fortune an escaped maniac, named The Cat, terrorises her and the other relatives gathered there. By all accounts this is a slick and well paced, sound remake of 1927's The Cat and the Canary that has avoided dating, even by contemporary standards, although this is mostly due to Mohr's effective camerawork than it is to the tiresome scenes of dialogue. The simultaneously filmed Spanish language version, LA VOLUNTAD DEL MUERTO was filmed with an alternate cast starring Lupita Tovar, directed by Rupert Julian and Paul Kohner. This version, Kohner's first project as Universal's foreign language producer, was so well lit that Laemmle Jnr. ordered the American version to be reshot in the same manner. Kohner later married his Spanish speaking discovery Lupita Tovar. Both versions are currently lost although the eight sound discs have been recovered.

Cast:
Helen Twelvetrees .... Annabelle West
Raymond Hackett .... Paul
Neil Hamilton .... Charles Wilder
Lilyan Tashman .... Cicily
Jean Hersholt .... Dr. Patterson
Montagu Love .... Hendricks
Lawrence Grant .... Crosby
Theodore von Eltz .... Harry Blythe
Blanche Frederici .... Mam' Pleasant
Elizabeth Patterson .... Susan
Lupita Tovar

 

Helen Twelvetrees

Helen Twelvetrees was born Helen Marie Jurgens in Brooklyn, New York on December 25, 1908. Her interest in the theatricals was apparent at an early age. After graduating from high school. Helen embarked on a stage career. She participated in a number of plays in New York City, but gravitated toward film when she headed to the West Coast in late 1928. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Art (where she met her first husband, actor Clark Twelvetrees), Helen Twelvetrees did a stint with the Stuart Walker Stock Company and played in the Chicago company of An American Tragedy before signing with Hollywood studio Fox. But a slight lisp was exaggerated in the gossip magazines and the studio dumped her after only three films. Motion picture advertisers had voted her a 1929 WAMPAS Baby Star and she quickly signed a contract with Pathé/RKO. In 1929, Helen appeared in her first motion picture called THE GHOST TALKS. That was quickly followed by WORDS AND MUSIC and BLUE SKIES that same year. Through the early thirties, Helen appeared in a number of movies. Audiences appreciated the pixish, little blonde and the roles she played. Perhaps one of her finest roles was a June Perry in STATE'S ATTORNEY (1932) opposite John Barrymore. She is perhaps best remembered for playing the tough woman torn between William Boyd and a very young (and villainous) Clark Gable in The Painted Desert (1931). Twelvetrees left RKO when producer David O. Selznick brought onboard the more versatile (and younger) Katharine Hepburn and spent the remainder of her screen career as a freelance artist. Her reputation for portraying suffering women followed her, however, and when one of her films proved a success-Now I'll Tell (1934), from the book by Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, the Ellery Queen mystery The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935). She filmed THOROUGHBRED in '36. By 1937, she was publicly feuding with husband-number-two, ex-stunt man Frank Woody, and appearing in B-Westerns and crime thrillers. She left films in favor of summer stock in 1939 and made her Broadway debut in Jacques Deval's Boudoir (1941). Unfortunately, the play folded after only 11 performances and she retired to Harrisburg, PA, with her third husband, a military officer. In 1938, Helen went through a drought and made her last film the following year in UNMARRIED. Helen's film career had ended. Through the balance of her life there seemed to be a void. On February 13, 1958, died after she took an overdose of sedatives. She was 49.

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