ARSENIC & OLD LACE (PG)
D: Frank Capra
Warner Bros (Frank Capra & Jack L. Warner)
USA 🇺🇸 1944
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
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.
Award Wins & Nominations:
MILSTEAD MOVIE AWARDS:
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)