Arsenic and Old Lace Movie Review Summary

Actors: Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, John Alexander, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Arsenic and Old Lace

Cary Grant plays a world-renowned bachelor, who has even written a book on the subject. However, at the very beginning of the movie he makes the leap to quit the single life and tries to marry in secret at city hall. He brings his new bride home to meet his two elderly and eccentric aunts and is thrown into a world of hilarious disasters. He discovers that his aunts had been killing lonely strangers for years and having his delusional cousin burry the bodies in their cellar. Trying to prevent his aunts from any more murders and dealing with this newfound situation, he discovers that his serial killer brother has escaped the clutches of the police and is coming after him. Now Grant must attempt to straighten out the madhouse that is his family, while hiding this information from his new wife and hiding himself from his psychotic brother. This movie, although in black and white, is fun and hilarious.
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The review of this Movie prepared by Jennifer Nieradka - Piperni

This movie from 1944 is a recipe for hilarity. Take two aunts (Josephine Hull, & Jean Adair) who have developed a nasty habit of secretly bumping off elderly gentlemen with poisoned wine and burying them in their cellar, and throw in three nephews: One named Teddy who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt (Jack Carson), another named Jonathan(Raymond Massey), who is on the lam for committing homicide worldwide and is also the spitting image of Boris Karloff, and a third, Mortimer (Cary Grant), who just wants to honeymoon with his sweetheart(Priscilla Lane), keep the bodies out of the cellar, the Aunts out of jail,& escape becoming his brother's 13th victim.
The review of this Movie prepared by Daniel J. Dudych

As the story opens, Mortimer Brewster (Grant), a newspaperman and author allergic to marriage, gets married at New York city hall to sweet and obliging Priscilla Lane (Harper). When he goes to inform his lovely maiden aunts, Abby and Martha (Hull and Adair, respectively), he discovers that their hobby is poisoning lonely old gentlemen and burying their bodies in the cellar. Or rather, cousin Theodore buries them, because he thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt digging the Panama Canal in the basement. While Mortimer is driven frantic trying to decide what to do, his murderous brother Jonathan (Massey) shows up with confederate Dr. Einstein (Lorre), intending to lie low while Einstein alters his facial features. Despite the gruesome aspects, this IS a mostly light and airy comedy, based on a hit broadway play by Joseph Kesselring. (Shot in 1941, it was withheld from release for 3 years until the play finished its smash run.) Edward Everett Horton, best known these days as the narrator of "Fractured Fairy Tales" on the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, appears as Mr. Witherspoon, manager of the asylum. This is a delightful and classic farce.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus

Cary Grant is at his most charming here--but here he's faced with murder! Seems the pair of sisters who're running ths boarding house try to do the "decent" thing by poisoning their guests with their very special elderberry wine! Joseph Kesselring's play is transformed easily to the screen and while the subject is mighty serious, the lines are quite funny! Sporting a most amazing "collection" of characters, the play "Arsenic and Old Lace" moves along at a fast never-say-die clip. What fun this classic play is!
The review of this Movie prepared by Bill Hobbs

Cary Grant plays the only sane member of a murderous family that includes his two sweet old aunties who poison old men and bury them in their basement and a brother who's a serial killer.
The review of this Movie prepared by A. Pearson

Script Analysis of Arsenic and Old Lace

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Plot & Themes

Comedy, primarily    -   Yes Time/era of movie:    -   1930's-1950's Comedy or Parody about    -   criminals

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Any profanity?    -   None Is this movie based on a    -   play

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