Arsenic & Old Lace

Watch Arsenic & Old Lace

  • 1962
  • 1 hr 16 min
  • 8.2  (199)

In the movie Arsenic & Old Lace from 1962, directed by Frank Capra and based on the play of the same name by Joseph Kesselring, we follow the story of Mortimer Brewster (Tony Randall), a New York drama critic who has just married his sweetheart Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane) and is ready to enjoy his honeymoon. However, his plans are thrown off course when he visits his eccentric family members, his two spinster aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha Brewster (Jean Adair), and his insane brother Teddy (John Alexander), who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and spends his time digging graves in the basement.

Mortimer discovers to his horror that his aunts have a macabre hobby of their own, poisoning lonely old men with arsenic-laced elderberry wine as a form of charity. When Mortimer tries to notify the authorities, he runs into several obstacles, including his brother's delusions and the arrival of his other brother Jonathan (Boris Karloff), a notorious murderer who has just escaped from prison and has had some recent plastic surgery to hide his identity.

As Mortimer tries to figure out how to handle the situation without ruining his honeymoon or his reputation, chaos ensues and the bodies start piling up. Meanwhile, Inspector Witherspoon (Jack Carson) and his assistant, Officer Brophy (Edward Everett Horton), get involved and only add to the confusion.

The movie is a delightful blend of comedy, suspense, and horror, with a superb cast that gives excellent performances. Tony Randall is perfectly cast as the neurotic Mortimer, balancing his character's intelligence, wit, and panic with great skill. Josephine Hull and Jean Adair steal the show as the sweet but deadly aunts, providing a wonderful contrast between their innocent demeanor and their gruesome habits. Boris Karloff also shines as the menacing Jonathan, relishing his role as the villain and displaying his acting range beyond his usual monster roles.

The movie's humor is dark and irreverent, with clever puns and witty one-liners that keep the audience laughing despite the macabre subject matter. Some of the funniest scenes involve Mortimer's attempts to cover up the bodies and his interactions with the various eccentric characters around him, including the bewildered police officers and the crazy brother Teddy, whose antics provide some of the movie's most memorable moments.

Frank Capra's direction is excellent, balancing the film's different genres and creating a fast-paced, energetic atmosphere that keeps the audience engaged throughout the movie. The production design is also impressive, with detailed sets and costumes that capture the film's 1940s setting and add to its overall charm.

Overall, Arsenic & Old Lace is a classic comedy that has stood the test of time, thanks to its talented cast, sharp writing, and inspired direction. It's a must-watch for fans of classic cinema and anyone looking for a funny, entertaining, and slightly twisted story.

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  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.2  (199)