Arsenic & Old Lace


D: Frank Capra

Warner Bros (Frank Capra & Jack L. Warner)

USA 🇺🇸 1944

118 mins


W: Julius J. Epstein & Philip G. Epstein [based on the play by Joseph Kesselring]

DP: Sol Polito

Ed: Daniel Mandell

Mus: Max Steiner

PD: Max Parker

Cos: Orry-Kelly

Cary Grant (Mortimer Brewster), Josephine Hull (Aunt Abby Brewster), Jean Adair (Aunt Martha Brewster), Raymond Massey (Jonathan Brewster), Peter Lorre (Dr. Herman Einstein), Priscilla Lane (Elaine Harper Brewster), John Alexander (Teddy Brewster)

Frequently considered one of Alfred Hitchcock's films, it may come as a surprise to many that this dark comedy was directed by Frank Capra, despite being incredibly different to his usual feel-good urban fables.

Cary Grant plays Mortimer Brewster, a cynical journalist who secretly gets married and invites his new bride to meet his beloved aunts, only to make a shocking discovery that the two old ladies are murderesses, who coax old men into their home where they poison them with wine and have them buried in the cellar.  Mortimer begins to panic that the homicidal tendencies may be hereditary and delves further into his family history.

Based on a stage play, the action crosses over to screen incredibly well, helped by great performances, an amusing script and very tactile direction which makes the light of the fact that the whole plot is incredibly flippant when it comes to the subject of murder & death.


Arsenic & Old Lace
Arsenic & Old Lace
Did You Know:
Cary Grant considered his acting in this film to be horribly over the top and often called it his least favorite of all his movies. He also donated his salary ($100,000) to the US war relief fund.

Award Wins & Nominations:


Wins: none

Nominations: 9 (Best Picture; Best Actor in a Leading Role; Best Director; Best Actor in a Supporting Role; Best Actress in a Supporting Role (x2); Best Ensemble Cast; Best Screenplay - Adaptation; Best Film Editing)


Wins: none

Nominations: none 


Wins: none

Nominations: none