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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Poster

Goofs

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The movie opens with the Brooklyn Dodgers winning a baseball game on Halloween, weeks after the end of baseball season. This is a gag to suggest that the only time the Brooklyn Dodgers could win is on Halloween, similar to saying when pigs fly.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

When Jonathan is trying to find Mr. Spenalzo, he mentions to Elaine that his friend Dr. Einstein is "somewhat of a magician." However when he says this, his lips aren't moving.
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When Teddy is playing the harpsichord near the beginning of the film (c. 6'45") the music on the stand is a duet for an instrumentalist with a keyboard accompaniment, hence the three music staves, yet we hear Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Pianoforte Sonata in A minor movement.
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When Mortimer opens (for the first time) the window seat, then closes it, he walks away and his voice is heard saying "The next thing..." before trailing off, but his lips do not move.
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Character error 

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.
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."
As the film opens, the narration on screen tells viewers that the action begins at 3:00 PM. However, when Mortimer & Elaine go up to the window at the marriage bureau, the clerk says "Good morning, children".
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When speaking to Mortimer, Lt. Rooney refers to Teddy as "your brother." The relationship between Mortimer and Teddy is never clearly established, although it appears Teddy is either an uncle or an older cousin of Mortimer, not a brother. The only brother mentioned is Jonathan.
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Continuity 

Just before Jonathan and Dr. Einstein show up, Aunt Abby arranges the two candelabras so that they are both facing forward. After Jonathan and Dr. Einstein enter, one of the candelabras is facing sideways.
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While Mortimer talks to his aunts early in the movie, the rice in his hair disappears and moves around between shots.
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When Mortimer discovers the body in the window seat his hair changes from being flipped over his forehead to being neat and then back again without any obvious motions that would have changed it.
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A policeman named Rooney has his rank fluctuate between "Lieutenant" and "Captain" throughout the film.
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When Mortimer Brewster pushes the policeman O'Hara out the front door, he firmly shuts the door behind the policeman. However, he immediately goes to leave the house and, when he approaches the door, it is wide open.
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When Mortimer first thinks of calling Judge Cullman, he raises his left arm. In the next shot, his right arm is raised.
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Crew or equipment visible 

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.
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Factual errors 

The hymnal that the aunts use to hold services over Mr. Hoskins is "Hymns For Creative Living," published in 1935 by The Judson Press. The hymn that they sing ("There is a Happy Place") is not in that hymnal.
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Revealing mistakes 

When Mortimer runs into and flips over the chair, clearly visible are large hinges attached from two legs of the chair to the floor, stopping it from flipping completely.
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As Mr. Witherspoon is getting up from the table, he stands an item up on the table which had been knocked over. Mr. Witherspoon then gazes up with a look as if to say, "Oops, I wasn't supposed to do that. Are we going on with this scene?" Cary Grant was feeling pretty certain that the scene would need re-shot as you can distinctly, yet quietly, hear him ask off-screen, "Was he supposed to do that?"
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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