A writer of books on the futility of marriage risks his reputation when he decides to get married. Things get even more complicated when he learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are habitual murderers.

Director:

Frank Capra

Writers:

Julius J. Epstein (screen play), Philip G. Epstein (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 ... Police Lt. Rooney
Josephine Hull ... Abby Brewster
Jean Adair ... Martha Brewster
John Alexander ... 'Teddy Roosevelt' Brewster
Grant Mitchell ... Reverend Harper
Edward McNamara Edward McNamara ... Brophy
Garry Owen ... Taxi Cab Driver
John Ridgely ... Saunders
Vaughan Glaser Vaughan Glaser ... Judge Cullman
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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:

WARNER SHOW OF THE YEAR! BEATS THE STAGE PLAY BY 500 LAUGHS AND 5000 SHIVERS! (Print Ad- New York Sun, ((New York, NY)) 31 August 1944) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cary Grant later said in interviews that his role would have been better accomplished by Allyn Joslyn, the Broadway play's lead, or even by James Stewart. See more »

Goofs

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." See more »

Quotes

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

This is a Hallowe'en tale of Brooklyn, where anything can happen -- and it usually does. At 3 P.M. on this particular day, this was happening. [Scene of Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees baseball game, irate fans and brouhaha between teams on the field, then...] While at the same time across the river in the UNITED STATES PROPER there was romance in the air. [Scene of cruise ship on the river with NY City skyline in the background, then...] And now, back to one of Brooklyn's most charming residential districts -- [Scene of old gabled Brewster house next to a cemetery, then...] -- From here on you're on your own. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midsomer Murders: The Electric Vendetta (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Funeral March (Marche funèbre)
(1837) (uncredited)
from "Sonata in Bb-, Op.35 No.2"
Music by Frédéric Chopin
In the score when Teddy gets Mr. Hoskins
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User Reviews

 
highly recommended
2 April 2007 | by gsygsySee all my reviews

One of the great black comedies. If Boris Karloff had joined his fellow Broadway cast members - Jean Adair, Josephine Hull and John Alexander - I think it would have been an even better movie. Raymond Massey, unquestionably a good actor, did his best, but didn't quite seem to get the joke, or maybe was overwhelmed by having to incarnate Karloff. But it's a quibble, really, and we're more than compensated by the the rest of the cast.

Cary Grant motors the piece along at a terrific pace. He's a joy to watch, with his double-, triple-, even quadruple- and quintuple-takes. Hull and Adair are equally wonderful in their different ways, the former all floaty and tip-toe, the latter hysterically earnest - one of my favourite moments is Adair's superb double-take when she notices, on the dining-room table, a shoe she doesn't recognise.

Peter Lorre, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason, and the rest, are all everything they should be, and Priscilla Lane is splendidly dewy-eyed and pouty as the love-interest.

I've seen Arsenic and Old Lace countless times. I've never tired of it, always look forward to it, and highly recommend it.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

21 September 1944 (Uruguay) See more »

Also Known As:

Frank Capra's 'Arsenic and Old Lace' See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,164,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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