Posted on 1/24/13 09:18 AM
Arsenic and old lace
Either you will love this, or just think it's a bit over the top. Me, I try not to think it's over the top, but Cary Grant, the defenition of the cool gentleman, doesn't really suite playing hysterical roles. But that's understandable, because it's just too far from his own personality. He was never any Jack Lemmon, so let's just ascertain that he is overacting a bit and move further.
You can easily tell that this originally is a theatre play, with it's very stagy and farcical structure.
It doesn't really resemble any other of Frank Capra's comedies, which often based much more on dialog and could be described as more balanced.
Having all this said, I must say that I actually like this movie. I always think Cary Grant is hilarious.
Some good old fashioned gallows humour!
Brewster is newly wed with Elaine Harper (Pricilla Lane) and before going on honeymoon in the Niagra Falls, Brewster think it's time for him to introduce his sweet old aunts, to his new wife. Clearly, insanity is something that runs in the Brewster-family, with a brother who is an escaped convict and an uncle who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. But what comes to a very unpleasant surprise to Brewster, is that the aunts; Abby and Martha have gotten a new hobby lately; to poison old lonely men and let them be buried (by Teddy Roosevelt, haha) in the cellar.
And all of a sudden, the long missed black sheep of the family, the escaped convict, is returning to the house with plastic surgeon Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre), with a dead body in the luggage. So finally, the house is full of dead bodies and Brewsters wife is standing outside the house waiting for the signal to be let in...
My favorite quotes;
Police Sgt. Brophy: What's goin' on here anyway?
Reverend Harper: Oh, he's quite harmless.
Police Sgt. Brophy: Thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. So what? There's a lot of worse guys he could think he was.
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!
Aunt Martha: 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.
AND WE MUST NOT FORGET THIS FAMILIAR QUOTATION:
(Brewster calling the Happy Dale Sanitairium)
Brewster: Happy Dale? Let me talk to Mr. Witherspoon, please.
Mr Witherspoon: Mr. Witherspoon speaking. Oh, how do you do Mr. Brewster!
Mr. Brewster: Do you remember our conversation about commiting my brother to Happy Dale? We want to commit him there immediately.
Mr. Withersppon: Oh, dear. That's too bad. We have several Theodore Roosevelt's at the moment and it would lead to trouble.....Well, but if he thought that....Mr. Brewster, we are a bit short of Napoleons at the present.