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 Arsenic and Old Lace 

What grade would you give this film?
A 75%  75%  [ 3 ]
B 25%  25%  [ 1 ]
C 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
D 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 4

 Arsenic and Old Lace 
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College Boy Z

Joined: Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:40 pm
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Post Arsenic and Old Lace
Arsenic and Old Lace

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Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 film directed by Frank Capra based on Joseph Kesselring's play of the same name. The script adaptation was by Julius J. Epstein. Capra actually filmed the movie in 1941, but it was not released until 1944, after the original stage version had finished its run on Broadway. The lead role of Mortimer Brewster was originally intended for Bob Hope, but he couldn't be released from his contract with Paramount. Capra had also approached Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan before going with Cary Grant. Boris Karloff played Jonathan Brewster, who "looks like Karloff", on the Broadway stage, but he was unable to do the movie as well because he was still appearing in the play during filming, and Raymond Massey took his place.

In addition to Grant as Mortimer Brewster, the film also starred Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as the Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha, respectively. Hull and Adair as well as John Alexander (who played Teddy Roosevelt) were reprising their roles from the 1941 stage production. Hull and Adair both received an eight-week leave of absence from the stage production that was still running, but Karloff did not as he was an investor in the stage production and its main draw. The entire film was shot within those eight weeks. The film cost just over $1.2 million of a $2 million budget to produce.


Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:05 pm
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Award Winning Bastard

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 12:03 am
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This is a CLASSIC! The humor holds up to anything today. One of my favorite comedies ever! Cary Grant is as animated as Jim Carrey, and Peter Lorre is great as always. For anybody that doesn't think they can enjoy an old black and white comedy, give this a rent, and I'll guarantee you'll love it. "Teddy" is also hilarious.

A


Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:20 pm
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Iron Man

Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 9:15 pm
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Agreed! This movie is one of my favorites! Very funny and entertaining! Fantastic performances from the whole cast, especially Cary Grant who is hilarious in the lead role. A


Wed Sep 21, 2005 7:20 am
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Extraordinary
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Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2004 12:52 am
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One of the strangest films I have seen in a long time. It derives its dark comedy largely from treating unnatural incidents and acts as perfectly natural. Most of the humour therefore is a result of the forfeiture of our expectations in favour of behaviour that would, in another context, seem perfectly natural, but in the context in which it is presented, is macabre and discomforting.

I'd be interested in reading the film's script, just to see how much the actors add to it. I would say that this film demands a tremendous amount from the actors, who must be logically illogical under the circumstances. The two old ladies are played to perfection in that vein, as is Jonathan. This provides the necessary element that keeps the film from being a horror movie, which it, btw, could easily be turned into, with a script rewrite and different acting.

This leads me to another point: the film is in large part successful because it is so close to being a bit too dark, too disquieting, too macabre, and this is what gives it its zest. It seems wholly immersed in that strange grey area between the sane and the insane, and it's really only the ending that provides one with some kind of resolution (though it should be mentioned that murders were committed, without just punishment for the crimes; but this is too much legal and moral stuff for a film like this).

Lastly, on Cary Grant: this is yet another performance that proves just how great an actor he was. I admit that sometimes, his shtick borders on slapstick, but that seems almost necessary, and is welcome in a comedy so crammed with madmen and madwomen. For the most part, I think he convincingly plays the part of a man who is in a thoroughly unconvincing set of circumstances.


At present, I don't feel comfortable enough giving the film a grade placing it wholly in the A bracket. I'd say B+/A- at this moment, which at any rate is very good. This is easily among the best dark comedies I've seen.

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Fri Jan 13, 2006 10:38 pm
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Extraordinary
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Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:30 pm
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One of Capra's best!

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Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:52 pm
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Box wrote:
One of the strangest films I have seen in a long time. It derives its dark comedy largely from treating unnatural incidents and acts as perfectly natural. Most of the humour therefore is a result of the forfeiture of our expectations in favour of behaviour that would, in another context, seem perfectly natural, but in the context in which it is presented, is macabre and discomforting.

I'd be interested in reading the film's script, just to see how much the actors add to it. I would say that this film demands a tremendous amount from the actors, who must be logically illogical under the circumstances. The two old ladies are played to perfection in that vein, as is Jonathan. This provides the necessary element that keeps the film from being a horror movie, which it, btw, could easily be turned into, with a script rewrite and different acting.

This leads me to another point: the film is in large part successful because it is so close to being a bit too dark, too disquieting, too macabre, and this is what gives it its zest. It seems wholly immersed in that strange grey area between the sane and the insane, and it's really only the ending that provides one with some kind of resolution (though it should be mentioned that murders were committed, without just punishment for the crimes; but this is too much legal and moral stuff for a film like this).

Lastly, on Cary Grant: this is yet another performance that proves just how great an actor he was. I admit that sometimes, his shtick borders on slapstick, but that seems almost necessary, and is welcome in a comedy so crammed with madmen and madwomen. For the most part, I think he convincingly plays the part of a man who is in a thoroughly unconvincing set of circumstances.


At present, I don't feel comfortable enough giving the film a grade placing it wholly in the A bracket. I'd say B+/A- at this moment, which at any rate is very good. This is easily among the best dark comedies I've seen.


just FYI to everyone > think I remember some years ago Cary Grant getting ranked the greatest male actor of all-time > forget what poll but he is up there any way you look at it.

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Also, this is a great movie as I would say about alot of Cary Grant movies


Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:59 pm
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B/B+


Quite funny film. Cary Grant was good, but overacted at times. The screenwriting was top-notch, though. There are several laugh-outloud-scenes. The highlight of the film is "Teddy".

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Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:21 am
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