Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 24
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 2
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 44,791
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
Sep 23, 1944 Limited
Aug 29, 2000
Warner Bros. Pictures
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Despite the fact that picture runs 118 minutes, Frank Capra has expanded on the original play [by Joseph Kesselring] to a sufficient extent to maintain a steady, consistent pace.
Cary Grant et al are on sparkling form in this classic darkly twisted comedy.
The film was adapted from a successful stage play and it comes across as very theatrical on screen, but once you get past that, there's an enjoyable lunacy to the whole thing.
Unable to conceal the film's theatrical origins, Capra misfires as a director and misguides Cary Garnt, who's too mannered, but the time, the combo of horror and comedy was new and the old ladies' gruseome hobby was shocking to audiences.
has stood the test of time to remain as funny today as anything Hollywood is producing now.
Not one of Capra's best. Grant is too hammy and out of control, and without Boris Karloff as Jonathan Brewster, the joke is lost.
Nowhere near the play, but fun and fast
...one of the staples of black comedy for stage and screen.
Audience Reviews for Arsenic and Old Lace
- "Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster: [Mr. Witherspoon has just met Teddy and Teddy pulls Mortimer aside] Is he trying to move into the White House before I've moved out?
- Mortimer Brewster: Who?
- "Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster: [points to Mr. Witherspoon] Taft!
- Dr. Einstein: You shouldn't have killed him. Just because he know something about us, what happens?
- Jonathan Brewster: We come to him for help, and he tries to shake us down. Besides, he said I looked like Boris Karloff!
- Mortimer Brewster: [singing] There is a Happydale, far, far away...
- Martha Brewster: For a gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspoon full of arsenic, then add half a teaspoon full of strychnine, and then just a pinch of cyanide.
- Mortimer Brewster: Hmm. Should have quite a kick.
- Dr. Einstein: No, no, Johnny. You cannot count him. You got twelve, they got twelve. The old ladies is just as good as you are!
- "Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster: Charge!
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