MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 84 this week

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

 -  Comedy | Crime  -  23 September 1944 (USA)
8.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 48,059 users  
Reviews: 244 user | 64 critic

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 22 titles
created 17 Jun 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 26 Sep 2011
 
a list of 23 titles
created 09 Aug 2012
 
a list of 27 titles
created 11 Jan 2013
 
a list of 45 titles
created 2 weeks ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) on IMDb 8.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Arsenic and Old Lace.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Five diverse oddball criminal types planning a bank robbery rent rooms on a cul-de-sac from an octogenarian widow under the pretext that they are classical musicians.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Cecil Parker
Get Shorty (1995)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A mobster travels to Hollywood to collect a debt and discovers that the movie business is much the same as his current job.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito
Family Plot (1976)
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Lighthearted suspense film about a phony psychic/con artist and her taxi driver/private investigator boyfriend who encounter a pair of serial kidnappers while trailing a missing heir in California.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris
Go (1999)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Go! tells the story of the events after a drug deal, told from three different points of view.

Director: Doug Liman
Stars: Sarah Polley, Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An eccentric, if not charming Southern professor and his crew pose as a classical ensemble in order to rob a casino, all under the nose of his unsuspecting but sharp old landlady.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tom Hanks, Marlon Wayans, Irma P. Hall
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Film noir parody with a detective uncovering a sinister plot. Characters from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Steve Martin, Rachel Ward, Alan Ladd
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Wallace Ritchie is mistaken for a spy and must stop a plot to assassinate international leaders at a banquet.

Director: Jon Amiel
Stars: Bill Murray, Joanne Whalley, Peter Gallagher
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A detective must adopt the dog of a dead man to help him find the murderer.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson
Comedy | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

Director: Robert Moore
Stars: Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Director: George Armitage
Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Clue (1985)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Six guests are invited to a strange house and must cooperate with the staff to solve a murder mystery.

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In London, four very different people team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.

Directors: Charles Crichton, John Cleese
Stars: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
O'Hara
...
...
...
Josephine Hull ...
Jean Adair ...
John Alexander ...
...
Edward McNamara ...
Garry Owen ...
Taxi Cab Driver
John Ridgely ...
Saunders
Vaughan Glaser ...
Judge Cullman
Edit

Storyline

Mortimer Brewster is a newspaperman and author known for his diatribes against marriage. We watch him being married at city hall in the opening scene. Now all that is required is a quick trip home to tell Mortimer's two maiden aunts. While trying to break the news, he finds out his aunts' hobby; killing lonely old men and burying them in the cellar. It gets worse. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She Passed Out On Cary ! No Wonder . . . She's just discovered his favorite aunts have poisoned their 13th gentleman friend !

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

23 September 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Arsenic and Old Lace'  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,120,175 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jonathan describes one of his killings and Dr. Einstein says "You can't count him. He died of pneumonia," then Jonathan replies "He wouldn't have died of pneumonia if I hadn't shot him." This connects to the United States Presidents theme in the film. In 1881, President James Garfield was shot by a drifter named Charles Guiteau. Garfield recovered from the wound, only to catch pneumonia from tainted surgical tools, and died 79 days after the shooting. Guiteau's courtroom defense was that Garfield died of pneumonia; the verdict was, in effect, that Garfield wouldn't have died of pneumonia if Guiteau hadn't shot him. Guiteau was sent to the execution dock in 1882. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Einstein is begging Mortimer to flee from Jonathan's murderous rage, Cary Grant) ad-libs to Peter Lorre, "Stop underplaying, I can't understand you." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Baseball Fan: I'll knock your block off, you big stiff! You're a bum!
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Daffy Dilly (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Music by Richard Wagner
Variations often in the score
Whistled by Priscilla Lane
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Brilliant comedy like they could only make it in the old days
19 November 2003 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Arsenic and Old Lace is the most important contender for the funniest movie ever made !! Every single aspect and element in this movie is just perfect. And I'm NOT exaggerating... If I have to rate all the different elements of cinema separately, I would rate them all 10 out of 10. Acting, directing, plot, location, dialogues, sense of humor...all brilliant and in the right proportions. Frank Capra was responsible for several milestones and masterpieces in the history of cinema but - in my opinion - Arsenic and Old Lace beats them all. Yes, I DO think it's even better than 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' !!! Arsenic and Old Lace is just everything you could possibly wish for in a motion picture. A must see that comes with the highest possible recommendation.

Explaining the plot a bit would almost be impossible to do. The story goes about so many things. Don't be alarmed, it's not at all hard to follow or something. As a viewer, you're just being overwhelmed by a series of hilarious plot twists and intelligent side-characters and their backgrounds. So much that it is almost impossible to mention it all. And besides, it's better that you start watching it without knowing too much about the story anyway. Just sit back and enjoy being pleasantly surprised. I can't imagine that there are people out there who didn't fully enjoy this movie !! It comes really close to perfection, and the intelligence and originality of it will never again find an equal. Nowadays comedies are all low-brainers ( or even no-brainers ) that handle about dumb teenagers or dick and fart jokes. Arsenic and Old Lace is a comedy that is mainly story-driven and brought to an even higher level thanks the flawless acting performances.

Yes...let's talk about the cast a bit !! Cary Grant plays the role of his life in my opinion. Sure, he played many other brilliant roles but his character Mortimer Brewster is just the most memorable of them all. Grant's comedy talent was never stressed better than in this film. His facial expressions are hilarious and his the amazingly funny lines sound brilliant coming out of his mouth. The girl who played his wife Elaine ( forgot her name ) is very beautiful and a great match for him. And I was very enthusiast to see Peter Lorre in this film. He's in my top 5 list of greatest actors who ever lived and anyone who saw this movie will agree with me on that. He's just perfect as Dr. Einstein. I can keep on rambling about the cast but I think you get the whole picture... FLAWLESS !!!

Black comedy is one of the hardest subgenres of cinema to make a good movie out. Not many directors and scriptwriters have enough talent to take a subject like murder, death or insanity and make a masterpiece out of it. Stanley Kubrick did it with 'Dr. Strangelove' and Frank Capra did it with this one ... I think these men are the exception. Only these guys can make you laugh hysterically with subjects like this. Finally one more note : This is also a perfect movie to watch if you're a fan of classic horror movies and thrillers. First of all because of the tribute role by Peter Lorre of course but also because of the constant morbid atmosphere hanging around the movie...And, naturally, because of the character of Jonathan Brewster which clearly is a direct tribute to Boris Karloff...They even say so most of the times.

What the hell are you waiting for ?? Go watch it right now !


33 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The actual Brooklyn neighborhood? beatabeatrix
Over the top? ImOkayLarry
Some jokes many people won't get today... lewis-51
100 things stoolfam
A Remake? amurphy2
Best black comedies fearedmemories
Discuss Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?