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

User Rating:
8.1/10   48,545 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:
Awards:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Hilarious Screwball Comedy by Frank Capra See more (245 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)

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

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:
Cary Grant considered his acting in this film to be horribly over the top and often called it his least favorite of all his movies.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Near the end of the film, Mr. Witherspoon addresses Mortimer as Mr. Witherspoon and Mortimer corrects him and saves the scene. Cary Grant appears to be genuinely amused by his mistake.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Baseball Fan:I'll knock your block off, you big stiff! You're a bum!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Return to Treasure Island (1988)See more »
Soundtrack:
Home, Sweet HomeSee more »

FAQ

Where does the title come from?
Is there a name for Teddy's delusional disorder?
What is the name of the music that Teddy is performing when we first see him?
See more »
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful.
Hilarious Screwball Comedy by Frank Capra, 23 June 2012
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

On Halloween day, the writer and drama critic Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) secretly marries his next door neighbor Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane) and they decide to travel to Niagara Falls in honeymoon. Mortimer has written many books criticizing the institution of marriage and his weeding would be a scoop for the reporters and paparazzos.

Mortimer and Elaine take a taxi to Brooklyn to bring their luggage and Mortimer visits his adorable elderly aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha Brewster (Jean Adair), who raised him and are considered Good Samaritans in the neighborhood, renting rooms and giving meals to the poor. His aunts live with his insane brother Teddy (John Alexander), who believes that is Theodore Roosevelt and is digging locks for the Panama Canal in the basement of the house. When Mortimer is ready to go, he finds a dead body hidden in the window seat and his aunts explains that they have murdered the poor men for charity to stop their suffering serving wine spiked with arsenic and other poisons. Then Teddy buries the corpses in the locks believing that they had yellow fever.

Mortimer decides to send Teddy to the Happy Dale Sanatorium but things get worse when his other insane and cruel brother Jonathan Brewster (Raymond Massey), who had disappeared twenty years ago and has the face of Boris Karloff, unexpectedly appears in the house with his alcoholic partner, the plastic surgeon Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre), expecting to find a place to dispose the corpse of his victim. The place transforms in a nuthouse.

"Arsenic and Old Lace" is a hilarious screwball comedy by Frank Capra based on a theater play. The plot and the characters are very funny with Josephine Hull and Jean Adair performing two innocent serial-killers believing that the death of their victims is charity. Cary Grant exaggerates in his reaction and he seems to be crazier than his insane relatives, but the result is wonderful. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Este Mundo é um Hospício" ("This World is a Sanatorium")

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Improvements, updates, don't say no to a remake/reboot (spoiler) jmhow
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