Arsenic and Old Lace 1944 NR CC

Amazon Instant Video

(629) IMDb 8.1/10
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Oscar-winner Cary Grant stars as a drama critic whose life is turned upside down when he discovers that his two spinster aunts have taken to poisoning their gentlemen house guests.

Starring:
Grant Cary, Raymond Massey
Runtime:
1 hour 59 minutes

Arsenic and Old Lace

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Product Details

Genres Comedy
Director Frank Capra
Starring Grant Cary, Raymond Massey
Supporting actors Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, Peter Lorre, James Gleason, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, John Alexander, Grant Mitchell, Edward McNamara, Garry Owen, John Ridgely, Vaughan Glaser, Chester Clute, Charles Lane, Edward McWade, Spencer Charters, Sol Gorss
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Great old movie and very funny.
NerdGirl82
The rest of the primary cast shines brightly as Mortimer and Jonathan's spinster aunts, Abby and Martha, and crazy uncle Teddy, who fancies himself Theodore Roosevelt.
Jeffrey A Mead
Arsenic and Old Lace is definitely one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
Deanna

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

189 of 194 people found the following review helpful By Lee Gaiteri on 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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99 of 104 people found the following review helpful By forrie on March 21, 2002
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 By Chon Wang on 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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Deanna on March 30, 2003
Format: DVD
Cary Grant gives a sparkling performance as Mortimer Brewster, a dramatic critic, who has just gotten married to Elaine (Priscilla Lane). On their way to Niagara Falls for a honeymoon, Mortimer stops by his Aunt Martha (Jean Adair) and Aunt Abby's (Josephine Hull) home in Brooklyn. While searching for papers, he finds a dead man in the window seat! Thinking that his crazy brother, who believes he's President Teddy Roosevelt, murdered the man, Mortimer tells his aunts about his discovery and that he thinks Teddy should be put in a sanitarium immediately. But Martha and Abby aren't shocked about the dead body at all. In fact, they are the ones who killed him and the eleven other men in the cellar! Of course, they don't think what they do is murder -- they think they're doing a charity for lonely, old men by poisoning them with elderberry wine with arsenic in it and giving them a proper burial in their cellar. Stunned that his aunts could do such a thing and not think it's wrong, Mortimer goes on a quest to get Martha, Abby and Teddy all put away at the Happydale Sanitarium. But when Jonathan (Raymond Massey), his cruel and evil brother who nobody has seen in years, shows up with a dead body of his own to get rid of, hilarity ensues!
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.
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