Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
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Cary Grant knew his way around a comedy, so it's easy to believe when his character Mortimer grows more and more frazzled throughout the night, jumping from one problem to the next so quickly that he can't even remember he's just been married that day. In his place, juggling four insane relatives (three of them killers), a handful of cops, and two dead bodies, we'd all feel the worse for wear. The pace is quick, almost frantic at times; complications and plot twists come faster than anyone in the movie can handle them. The only characters who aren't perturbed and thrown completely out of their elements by the affair are the rest of the Brewster family, who are all crazy anyway.
The dark comedy genre is full of films that are a little too graphic or disturbing for kids (and even some adults), but this one's not quite so dark, and wildly funny enough to entertain all ages. And no matter how young or old you are, no matter how normal a family you have, you won't be able to help but chuckle when the harried Mortimer takes a breather to explain to his new wife: "Insanity runs in my family.... It practically gallops."
The DVD transfer is flawless; the clarity is wonderful. Pop some popcorn and watch it with the whole family.
Cary Grant in the leading role as nephew, Mortimer Brewster is at his comedic best in this black comedy of wine, family & insanity. His 2 fabulous Aunts played by Josephine Hull & Jean Adair were encored to the screen and are perfect in their roles. Boris Karloff's obligations prevented him from doing the movie and was replaced by Raymond Massey in the movie version as Grant madcap brother. The great ensemble cast also included Peter Lorre, Edward Everett Horton, Priscilla Lane & John Alexander as a delightful zany crazy, thinking he is President "Teddy Roosevelt".
Summary: It is Halloween, Mortimers wedding day & his life is about to change forever. Visiting his 2 Aunts (Hull & Adair) with his wife (Lane - Ministers daughter!) on their way to their honeymoon to Niagara Falls discovers a body in the window seat. Thinking his crazy cousin, (Alexander) has committed the crime approaches his Aunts. They not only know about the body, but they know who he was & how he died. Their elderberry wine laced with a mixture of arsenic. Oh by the way, he is the 12th to be buried in the cellar. What is Mortimer to do & is his entire family insane? We began a very entertaining & hilarious journey to answering these & many more questions.
This DVD is an excellent Black & White Full Screen (before WideScreen) transfer. Extras include Production notes.
"Arsenic and Old Lace" film adaptation is very close to the actual Broadway play & is a great classic to have in your DVD library. Enjoy.
A film adaptation of the popular stage play, Arsenic and Old Lace is a hilarious movie perfect for people of all ages. The story of Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), the youngest of three brothers who were raised by two dear, but eccentric, spinster aunts, who have a nasty little habit of "putting poor souls" out of their misery with a little arsenic-laced elderberry wine.
It is delightful to watch Mortimer go from a nice, normal, newlywed to a nervous, neurotic mess as he tries to figure a way out of the predicament his well-meaning aunts have placed them all in. Throw in one brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt, another who is a psychopathic killer fashioned after Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre as Dr. Einstein, a slightly intoxicated make-shift plastic surgeon, and you'll be laughing the entire way through.
All of the performances were wonderful, but Cary Grant's facial expressions, double takes, and hilarious body language are a joy to watch. A truly classic, funny movie.
"No, I'm not drunk, madame.......but you've given me an idea!" - Mortimer, seething in frustration as he tries to get past the operator, so that he can get his family committed into the HappyDale Sanitarium.
"Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops!" - Mortimer, trying to explain to his new bride why it would be best for her to leave him and never look back.
Arsenic and Old Lace is definitely one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. All of the performances are top-notch, especially Cary Grant's, as the bewildered nephew of two sweet, but crazy ladies. Interestingly, he once said that out of all his movies, this one was his least favorite, due to the overacting. Well, it's my favorite of his!
Do not miss this gem! It is absolutely fabulous.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cary Grant's comic turns are the best I have ever seen, movies or standup. What a fabulous guy.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
I remember seeing this movie back in the early 80's (yeah, it was still nearly 40 years old) and haven't since seen it played on TV. That was until this last Christmas. Read morePublished 5 days ago by RetroRunner
This classic Cary Grant movie is a favorite of mine. Suspenseful, comic and full of surprises.Published 7 days ago by txmom
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|Black and White or Color Version?||
It had a colorized version many years ago. I liked the colorized version when I saw it. Good luck finding it.
Feb 24, 2013 by cyberghostx13 | See all 2 posts
|Arsenic and Old Lace (other versions)||
According to a reviewer I read, Boris Karloff, could not be released from the play to film the movie. Unless there's a filming of the play, at least on this avenue, you are out of luck. I know nothing regarding a Bob Crane version.
Ooh, and I didn't intend for a pun of Hogan's Heroes. Sorry... Read More
Nov 21, 2010 by K. DeV | See all 5 posts