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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) (1944)

Cary Grant , Priscilla Lane , Frank Capra  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (615 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton
  • Directors: Frank Capra
  • Writers: Joseph Kesselring, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
  • Producers: Frank Capra, Jack L. Warner
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Turner Home Ent
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (615 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0790743949
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,393 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

You'll die laughing! Frank Capra directs Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre and stellar cast in the hit Broadway farce about a nutcase family with well-intentioned homicidal tendencies.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
185 of 190 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Non-stop dark comedy--for everyone September 6, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Arsenic and Old Lace has been a family Halloween tradition for years. In some ways it might be called the original horror spoof: Two sweet old ladies poison lonely old men as a "charity" and bury them in the cellar, and no sooner does their stable nephew find out about this (while preparing to leave for his honeymoon) than his long-lost homicidal brother returns with a face like Frankenstein's monster.
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.
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98 of 103 people found the following review helpful
By forrie
Format:DVD
Frank Capra delivers a great film adaptation of Joseph Kesselring's Broadway hit, "Arsenic and Old Lace". Originally filmed in 1941 just prior to WWII, but not released until 1944 because of the contract agreement to allow the play to complete its Broadway run. (The play ran for 1,444 performances.)
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.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arsenic & Old Lace March 22, 2003
Format:DVD
Plot: Mortimer, a drama critic, has just got married and is about to go on his honeymoon when he discovers insanity runs in his family. His sweet maiden aunts poison lonely old men and have a number of corpses buried in the cellar.....
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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arsenic and Old Lace March 20, 2008
Format:DVD
This dark comedy starring Cary Grant showcases his incredible gift for the genre. When he and his new wife visit his two eccentric aunts (brilliantly played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair), they stumble upon a startling discovery - a body. It seems the aunts have not just committed murder this once, but many times. As he weaves his way through his insane relatives to determine the truth, we get a rare treat of just how good Grant's comedic delivery and timing are.
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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
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