Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Arsenic and Old Lace Videos & Photos

Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Joseph Kesselring, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 29, 2000
Warner Bros. Pictures


as Mortimer Brewster

as Jonathan Brewster

as Abby Brewster

as `Teddy Roosevelt' Br...

as Elaine Harper

as Martha Brewster

as O'Hara

as Mr. Witherspoon

as Dr. Einstein

as Lt. Rooney

as Rev. Harper

as Taxi Driver

as Saunders

as Judge Cullman

as Dr. Gilchrist

as Reporter

as Man in Phone Booth

as Marriage License Cle...

as Photographer

as Umpire
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Arsenic and Old Lace

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4)

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.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
Top Critic

The timing is abysmal throughout, turning fast pace into numbing frenzy.

Full Review… | August 13, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Good macabre fun.

Full Review… | August 8, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Dusty but gentle entertainment.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Cary Grant et al are on sparkling form in this classic darkly twisted comedy.

Full Review… | October 22, 2013
Empire Magazine

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.

Full Review… | October 22, 2013

Audience Reviews for Arsenic and Old Lace

While the first half hour is exceptionally hilarious (with Cary Grant displaying a perfect comic timing there), this madcap dark comedy soon resorts to irritating, over-the-top mass hysteria, with everyone yelling around without rest, killing what made it so funny in the beginning.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Way too theatrical for my taste. I couldn't stand watching it anymore, so I turned it off after watching the first hour.

Saskia D.

Super Reviewer

A newlywed discovers that his aged aunts have been poisoning lonely bachelors as his brother returns with a body to hide.
This is a shallow but enjoyable farce. Cary Grant runs about and contorts his face in all the shapes required by the genre, and Josephine Hull and Jean Adair are delightful in their naivete. This isn't substantive comedy, but it's well-plotted and energetic.
Overall, I enjoyed Arsenic and Old Lace for its madcap fun as it's a decent way to while away a couple hours.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Arsenic and Old Lace Quotes

– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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