IMDb > Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Arsenic and Old Lace
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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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8.1/10   47,382 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Julius J. Epstein (screen play) and
Philip G. Epstein (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Arsenic and Old Lace on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 September 1944 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
She Passed Out On Cary ! No Wonder . . . She's just discovered his favorite aunts have poisoned their 13th gentleman friend !
Plot:
A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Brilliant Black Comedy! See more (243 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Cary Grant ... Mortimer Brewster

Priscilla Lane ... Elaine Harper

Raymond Massey ... Jonathan Brewster

Jack Carson ... O'Hara

Edward Everett Horton ... Mr. Witherspoon

Peter Lorre ... Dr. Einstein

James Gleason ... Lt. Rooney
Josephine Hull ... Abby Brewster
Jean Adair ... Martha Brewster
John Alexander ... 'Teddy Roosevelt' Brewster

Grant Mitchell ... Reverend Harper
Edward McNamara ... Brophy
Garry Owen ... Taxi Cab Driver
John Ridgely ... Saunders
Vaughan Glaser ... Judge Cullman
Chester Clute ... Dr. Gilchrist

Charles Lane ... Reporter
Edward McWade ... Gibbs
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Spencer Charters ... Marriage License Clerk (uncredited)
Sol Gorss ... New York Pitcher (uncredited)
Herbert Gunn ... Undetermined Supporting Role (uncredited)
Roland Jones ... Undetermined Supporting Role (uncredited)
Hank Mann ... Photographer at Marriage License Office (uncredited)
Spec O'Donnell ... Young Man in Line (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Umpire (uncredited)
Don Phillips ... Undetermined Supporting Role (uncredited)
Raymond Walburn ... Drummer at baseball game (uncredited)
Leo White ... Man in Phone Booth (uncredited)
Jean Wong ... Young Woman in Line (uncredited)
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Directed by
Frank Capra 
 
Writing credits
Julius J. Epstein (screen play) and
Philip G. Epstein (screen play)

Joseph Kesselring (play)

Produced by
Jack L. Warner .... executive producer
Frank Capra .... associate producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Max Steiner 
 
Cinematography by
Sol Polito (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Daniel Mandell 
 
Art Direction by
Max Parker 
 
Costume Design by
Orry-Kelly (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
George Bau .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Anita De Beltrand .... hair stylist (uncredited)
John Wallace .... makeup man (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Eric Stacey .... unit manager (uncredited)
Steve Trilling .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claude Archer .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Russell Saunders .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Lucien Hafley .... props (uncredited)
Keefe Maley .... second propman (uncredited)
Alfred Williams .... assistant propman (uncredited)
Levi C. Williams .... assistant propman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
C.A. Riggs .... sound
Everett Alton Brown .... sound mixer (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Robert Burks .... special effects
Byron Haskin .... special effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Wesley Anderson .... second camera (uncredited)
Joe Cramer .... best boy (uncredited)
Frank Evans .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Mickey Marigold .... still photographer (uncredited)
Harold Noyes .... grip (uncredited)
Charles O'Bannon .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Cora Lobb .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Leon Roberts .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator
 
Other crew
Russel Crouse .... producer: stage play
Howard Lindsay .... producer: stage play
Harold Winston .... dialogue director
Bob Fender .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Herman Lissauer .... researcher (uncredited)
Mal Merrihugh .... stand-in: Cary Grant (uncredited)
Wandra Ramsey .... script clerk (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (A Warner Bros.-First National Picture) (presents)
Distributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Frank Capra's 'Arsenic and Old Lace'" - USA (complete title)
See more »
Runtime:
118 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G (cable rating) | Australia:PG (original rating) | Brazil:14 (DVD rating) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Finland:K-16 (1949) | Finland:(Banned) (1946) | Germany:12 | Sweden:(Banned) (original rating) | Sweden:15 (re-rating) (1948) | UK:PG (1990) | UK:A (1944) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #7855) | West Germany:16 (nf)

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:
Incorrectly regarded as goofs: The movie opens with a baseball game, on Halloween, weeks after the end of season. This is a dramatization of a folk truism of the times: "The only way the Brooklyn Dodgers could win is to play on Halloween!" Presumably 1940s audiences would have recognized the joke immediately.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Baseball Fan:I'll knock your block off, you big stiff! You're a bum!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Sing With All the Saints in GlorySee more »

FAQ

What is the name of the music that Teddy is performing when we first see him?
How closely does the movie follow the play?
How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
See more »
33 out of 40 people found the following review useful.
Brilliant Black Comedy!, 16 April 2005
Author: Gafke from United States

Mortimer Brewster, a New York critic of both drama and marriage, has finally married Elaine Harper, the girl next door. But before heading off to Niagra Falls for the honeymoon, Mortimer stops in to see his aunts, Abby and Martha Brewster, two sweet little old ladies who donate toys to charity and care for their nephew Teddy, a bugle blowing nutbag who thinks he's Theodore Roosevelt. But Abby and Martha aren't as sweet and innocent as they seem. Mortimer soon discovers, to his horror, that his dear old aunties have a dozen bodies buried in the basement. It seems the Brewster sisters have a new hobby - luring lonely old men into their home and serving them Elderberry Wine spiked with arsenic poison. To make matters worse, Mortimer's deranged and very dangerous brother Jonathan shows up. Jonathan, on the run from the law, has a dead body in the trunk of his car, a drunken plastic surgeon at his side and a face that looks like Boris Karloff. Mortimer frantically attempts to deal with dead bodies, insane asylum directors, attempted murders and a new bride all on a single crazy Halloween night.

This is a must-see Halloween movie, filled with Gallows humor, leaf-strewn graveyards, pumpkins and death. Cary Grant delivers a performance unlike any other he has ever done - manic, panicked, hysterical and almost as insane as his screen family. John Alexander is flawless as Teddy; bugles, pith helmet and all. Jean Adair and Josephine Hull are so sweet and cute and so absolutely morbid you'll forgive them anything. Raymond Massey as Boris Karloff lookalike Jonathan is simultaneously menacing and amusing, and Peter Lorre as his drunken German sidekick Dr. Einstein is a riot, bugging his eyes and flinching through the entire film in a most endearing way.

This is a must see film, no matter your genre preference. There's something for everyone here: quick-witted comedy, true romance, grisly deeds, everything! Fans of Grant and Lorre must not miss this film. 10 stars!

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