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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Movie Reviews

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  View cacb3995's Profile
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06/20/2018 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

The Dark Humour of an Unconventional Family

Back in the 1930s and 40s, as the studio system and the Hays code were in their peaks, Frank Capra was one of the most important directors in Hollywood. He helmed such classics like “It Happened One Night” (1934), “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939) and “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946). His films have become milestones of american cinema, always blended in with a heartfelt story and clever humour. In 1944 he released “Arsenic and Old Lace”, today somewhat lesser known than the previously mentioned titles, and yet still considered an undisputable classic for those who know it. Based on a classic Broadway play by the same name and starring Cary Grant, the film is a clear example of how classy and utterly funny comedies at the time could be.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” tells the tale of the Br...

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  View Daniel Corleone's Profile
Daniel Corleone
Movie God

11/05/2012 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

Arsenic and Old Lace review

There are times when a popular classic is praised and yet when viewed, one feels differently. Typical talkies are okay, having too much tends to be too dull despite a known actor. This felt like a skit or soap opera rather than a film. Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) gets married to Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane). Aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair), and his brother Teddy (John Alexander) have a secret. Surprisingly a talkie instead of a comedy. This critic doesn't mind constant conversations and a slow pace, this however was grueling. On a positive note, Grant's performance and plot was worth viewing. Arsenic and Old Lace is the type of film that mixes mystery, dark humor and comedy elements which can be enjoyed with patience and appreciation of the cast.

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Movie God

03/07/2012 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

"Arsenic And Old Lace" by Yojimbo

The newly married nephew of a pair of dear old ladies is shocked to discover that they have been euthenising the lonely old gents of their neighbourhood. I'm a fan of Frank Capra and Cary Grant both, but Arsenic And Old Lace is rather too broadly played and self-consciously "kooky" for my tastes. In my opinion, Grant is at his best when he is being silver tongued and debonair but in this film he leaps around, hopping and howling like a chimpanzee (the film it reminded me of most in approach was probably Monkey Business) and it's just full of people running in and out of the same one room location, shouting, blowing bugles and generally being rather loud and irritating. It's born of the same school of screwball comedy of falling over and double takes rather than fast talking wise-cracks an...

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Movie God

05/28/2010 (0 of 0 found this helpful)

One of the funniest movies ever. A pure classic!

Brilliantly brought from screen to stage, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is as funny today as it was 60 years ago. Newlywed Mortimer Brewster receives the worst of all wedding gifts - he finds out everyone in his family is completely nuts. He knew about his murdering brother Jonathan, who disappeared, and his uncle who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. But it's not until he finds a body in his aunts' window seat that he learns that his elderly aunts have been poisoning old men and burying them in the cellar.
Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, who performed the aunts on Broadway, are perfection. Cary Grant's Mortimeris a masterpiece. His reactions to his situation are astonishing. For me it is one of his great performances. Raymond Massey as the returning Jonathan, who now looks like Boris Karloff since h...

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