Michael S. from MASSAPEQUA PK, NY Reviewed on 2/29/2008...
Excellent. The best Cary Grant movie ever! Priscilla Lane has natural beauty and charm.
Non-stop dark comedy--for everyone
Lee Gaiteri | Syracuse, NY USA | 09/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Grant, 2 Old Ladies & Elderberry wine=hilarity now on DVD!!
forrie | Nashua, NH United States | 03/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Arsenic & Old Lace
Chon Wang | Boise, ID USA | 03/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Certainly there are 13 bodies in the cellar...!
NicktoBarada | Maryland | 04/07/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who has seen Frank Capra's madcap version of Arsenic and Old Lace knows that it is a stunning example of hilarious dark comedy. The story centers around a certain Mr. Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), who says that insanity "runs in my family. It practically gallops." One day he discovers that his two aunts, Martha and Abby, poison poor old lonely gentlemen as a "charity act." He tries to convince them to stop while committing his brother Teddy (of Roosevelt fame) to the Happydale Sanitarium. At the same time, his new wife Elaine (Pricilla Lane) battles for his affections. The plot picks up when Mortimer's long lost brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey) shows up-- with an eye to kill. His little assistant, Dr. Hermann Einstein (Peter Lorre) is a plastic surgeon who does face jobs on Jonathan to avoid detection from the police. Each one of these performers-- especially Lorre-- do an excellent job of making this screwball comedy a success. Lorre is both funny and touching in his role as a pathetic man who has played henchman to Jonathan for so many years. Watch him as he begs Mortimer to leave the house. How can the viewer not feel pity? A very satisfying and hilarious film."
Arsenic and Old Lace
Kelly | Littleton, Colorado | 03/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This dark comedy starring Cary Grant showcases his incredible gift for the genre. When he and his new wife visit his two eccentric aunts (brilliantly played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair), they stumble upon a startling discovery - a body. It seems the aunts have not just committed murder this once, but many times. As he weaves his way through his insane relatives to determine the truth, we get a rare treat of just how good Grant's comedic delivery and timing are. "