8.1/10
56,019
263 user 70 critic

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Thriller | 23 September 1944 (USA)
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 »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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

When a rich woman's ex-husband and a tabloid-type reporter turn up just before her planned remarriage, she begins to learn the truth about herself.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A newspaper editor uses every trick in the book to keep his ace reporter ex-wife from remarrying.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
Harvey (1950)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow
Charade (1963)
Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Who can she trust?

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother.

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Nolan
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other's attempts to find new romance.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Longfellow Deeds, a simple-hearted Vermont tuba player, inherits a fortune and has to contend with opportunist city slickers.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
The Big Sleep (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A man and his wife decide they can afford to have a house in the country built to their specifications. It's a lot more trouble than they think.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglas
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
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:

I'll knock your block off, you big stiff! You're a bum! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

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

According to Warner Bros. Studio records, Cary Grant received $160,000 for making the film, Frank Capra received $100,000, Raymond Massey's salary was set at $25,000, Peter Lorre earned $13,000, and Jean Adair and Josephine Hull both earned $10,000 for the making of the film. See more »

Goofs

Dr. Einstein stumbles and falls into the window seat in the dark. He strikes a match, and the wire that is powering the flickering light in the palm of his hand is clearly visible trailing out from his sleeve. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in GhostWatcher 2 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Sing With All the Saints in Glory
(uncredited)
Written by William J. Irons
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven (as Ludwig von Beethoven)
Performed by the Aunts
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Completely Hilarious Dark Comedy
14 June 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

For those who enjoy dark comedy, it's hard to see how anything could be funnier than "Arsenic and Old Lace". With Cary Grant's talent for madcap comedy, with hilariously sinister performances by Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre, with two adorable old ladies who have a very dark secret, plus half-a-dozen other eccentric characters, all involved in a complicated and unpredictable plot, this is a comic masterpiece. Director Frank Capra keeps everything moving and adds his own touch, keeping some dark material entirely light-hearted.

This is the kind of movie for which mere analysis cannot do justice to how well everything fits together. The characters, cast, and writing are all perfect, and the crazy story gives every character some great moments. There is plenty of witty dialogue, lots of funny slapstick and physical humor, and quite a few wild plot developments. None of it is meant to be plausible, but it is all hugely entertaining, and done with such skill that it is easy to suspend disbelief. If you happen not to have seen this before, stick with it for the first few minutes, until you arrive at the home of Cary Grant's two aunts, and then things will take off quickly.

If you enjoy morbid humor, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is an absolute must-see.


73 of 80 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?