Arsenic and Old LaceDirector: Frank Capra
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Arsenic and Old Lace is director Frank Capra's spin on the classic Joseph Kesselring stage comedy, which concerns the sweet old Brewster sisters (Josephine Hull, Jean Adair), beloved in their genteel Brooklyn neighborhood for their many charitable acts. One charity which the ladies don't advertise is their ongoing effort to permit lonely bachelors to die with smiles on their faces--by serving said bachelors elderberry wine spiked with arsenic. When the sisters' drama-critic nephew Mortimer (Cary Grant) stumbles onto their secret, he is understandably put out--especially since he has just married the lovely Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane). Given the homicidal tendencies of his aunts, the sinister activities of his escaped-convict older brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey) and the disruptive behavior of younger brother Teddy (John Alexander)--who is convinced that he's really Theodore Roosevelt, and runs around the house yelling "CHAAAAARGGGE"--Mortimer isn't keen on starting a family with his new bride. "Insanity runs in my family," he explains. "It practically gallops." Further complications ensue when the murderous Jonathan Brewster arrives home, with his snivelling accomplice Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre) in tow. When Jonathan learns that his darling aunts have killed twelve men, he is incensed--they're challenging his own record of murders. Though the movie rights for Arsenic and Old Lace were set up so that the film could not be released until 1944, director Capra shot the film quickly and inexpensively in 1941, so that his family could subsist on his $100,000 salary while he was serving in World War II.
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- Original Release:
- Turner Home Ent
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- [Full Frame]
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Cast & Crew
|Cary Grant||Mortimer Brewster|
|Priscilla Lane||Elaine Harper|
|Raymond Massey||Jonathan Brewster|
|Jack Carson||Officer O'Hara|
|Peter Lorre||Dr. Einstein|
|Edward Everett Horton||Mr. Witherspoon|
|James Gleason||Lt. Rooney|
|Josephine Hull||Abbey Brewster|
|Jean Adair||Martha Brewster|
|John Alexander||"Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster|
|Grant Mitchell||Rev. Harper|
|Garry Owen||Taxi Driver|
|Vaughan Glaser||Judge Cullman|
|Chester Clute||Dr. Gilchrist|
|Spencer Charters||Marriage License Clerk|
|Leo White||Man in Phone Booth|
|Robert Burks||Special Effects|
|Julius J. Epstein||Screenwriter|
|Philip G. Epstein||Screenwriter|
|Byron Haskin||Special Effects|
|Max Parker||Art Director|
|C.A. Riggs||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Russ Saunders||Asst. Director|
|Max Steiner||Score Composer|
1. Credits [1:09]
2. A Spree Grows In [:51]
3. Mortimer's Come To [3:10]
4. The Brewster House [7:23]
5. One Thing at a Time [4:09]
6. Two Nicest Aunts [2:04]
7. Murder Will Out [2:03]
8. Their Little Secrets [2:53]
9. An Even Dozen [2:37]
10. Gone to Panama [2:54]
11. Where Elaine Stands [3:06]
12. A New Gentleman [3:08]
13. Another Roosevelt [3:30]
14. Jonathan/Dr. Einstein [7:52]
15. Disagreeable [2:41]
16. Just the Right Size [2:45]
17. Lights and Bodies [5:16]
18. Elaine's Bad Timing [3:59]
19. A Touching Reunion [3:08]
20. What's With Elaine? [2:28]
21. Who Can That Be? [2:24]
22. Window-Seat Worries [1:52]
23. O'Hara Drops In [3:13]
24. If You Tell, I Tell [2:01]
25. Tie Score [3:02]
26. Galloping Insanity [4:09]
27. Melbourne Method [2:24]
28. Big Dope [3:52]
29. To My Dear Dead [2:42]
30. O'Hara's Opus [3:13]
31. Third-Act Brawl [3:44]
32. Rooney on the Scene [3:44]
33. Teddy's Term Expires [3:57]
34. Bodies Everywhere [3:54]
35. Sign, Dr. Einstein [1:41]
36. True Confessions [3:14]
37. Not Themselves; Cast List [1:34]
Cast & Crew
Stage to Screen
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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If you want to laugh, laugh, and laugh...then this is the must-have halloween movie. It's set in Brooklyn on Halloween Day. "Oh..Mortimer" What have you gotten into...LOL First saw this on TV when I was around 24 or so...I found myself 10 years later going to see it in NYC on Broadway starring Jean Stapleton. I still laugh all these years later. I say in a single word..."CHARGE" right to the store and get this movie...Happy Haunting...
If you ever find yourself trying to entertain 75 (or one) sixteen-, seventeen-, and eighteen- year- olds, this is a must. Introduce a younger generation to classic comedy. Cary Grant is hillarous in his role as Mortimer Brewster. My students even got over the fact that it was in Black and White. Several asked for the name so that they could order this title themselves. They, and I, love it!!
My 10-yr old daughter and I came across this movie on PBS one evening and we couldn't stop watching. The quick pace and timeless humor kept us glued to the movie. I recently learned that this is also one of my mom's favorite movies! Three generations of Arsenic fans! Amazing, simply amazing.
I love this movie growing up and still love it today! My daughter loved it also.
I always love a good Grant film and this one is a favorite! Slapstick comedy adds to the character's charm. Always a treat from the usual Halloween films. But,don't wait 'til then to watch it!
Arsenic and Old Lace is my favorite comedy movie and one of my favorite Cary Grant movies! It is very hilarious and the cast is superb! I have never seen the play but this movie has me very interested in seeing it and hopefully someday I can see a production of the play!
Every minute of this zany film is enjoyable, from the machinations of the two old ladies to the macabre brother of the ''son of a sea cook''. For me, a high spot is the nervous giggle of Peter Lorre when he realizes that he will go free.
I've always liked this movie. When I first saw it I had to own a copy. All of the characters were perfectly animated and each one can tickle your funnybone throughout the movie. It's just a great production for all ages.
Oscar-winning director Frank Capra ("It's a Wonderful Life") knew a good story when he saw one. He bought the rights to this successful stageplay and then brought in a superb team to make it (including the original actresses who played the spinster sisters in Broadway). The story, plot-twists, scares and humor are non-stop. Cary Grant,Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and the cream of character actors and actresses each contribute to this Hollywood classic. Not to be missed!!!!
This is such a cool movie! I read the play, and saw the movie. It is so humourous, I just can't stop laughing. I would reccomend it to everyone!
HIlarious. A favorite. Wonderful script performed by a top notch cast. Peter Lorre and Cary Grant at their side-splitting best!
Cary Grant is Brilliant in this film! He is truly a man of all trades almost on every level you can think of. This must be his funniest film ever next to Bringing up Baby I believe. There is some mystery to the story. You must pay attention closely or you could miss some important factors to the movie. You won't be disappointed! I don't normally like Priscilla Lane. But, she was Fantastic in this movie. She kept up with Cary Grant's beat and comedic and romantic scenes perfectly! You don't have to be a Cary Grant Fan to enjoy this movie! It's great for the whole family too! It is a must treasure to add to your collection!
Grant is such a great comedian. The movie apparently is based on the Broadway play. They couldn't get Boris Karloff, so Raymond Massey played Karfoff's part and several places in the movie other characters comment on how much Massey resembles Karloff. Anyway good for a relaxing evening.
Cary Grant plays a new groom and he brings his bride to meet his family before they go off on their honeymoon. He has done all he can to keep her "protected" from their zany behavior, the antics that occur as he tries to steer her clear of the family are a riot. This was LOL! LOL! fun and entertainment. And if you enjoy this DVD, you should view some of the other Cary Grant DVDs like: His Gal Friday, The Bishop's Wife, An Affair to Remember, and Every Girl Should Be Married. These were all entertaining and just delightful to watch. Mr. Grant is a great actor in each of these movies.
A very Funny old movie in B&W. Cary Grant is hilarious and the rest of the cast is great.Peter Lorre is very interesting. If you like the old movies, this one is funny and very enjoyable.
Whoever said murder can't be funny? This movie is zany, wild, and hilarious. With two loveable muderesses and Theodore Rossevelt how can you go wrong?
I was first introduced to Arsenic And Old Lace when I saw it at The Rep. Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I fell in love with the play and new I had to do something involved with Arsenic And Old Lace! I am now playing Mortimer in another version of the classic! Getting this DVD is a must for me! ''There's a body in the windowseat!''
Arsenic and Old Lace is a fantastic movie. Cary Grant is great in this movie. Also they did an amazing job turning this play into a movie without jeopardizing the feeling of being in an audience as the actors performed on stage - the setting was believable and they didn't shoot from impossible angles. My only complaint is that I wish the role played by Cary Grant had been played by Jimmy Stewart, I think that would have added to it a bit. Otherwise a great movie for anyone.