8.0/10
61,432
269 user 79 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:

Frank Capra

Writers:

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

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

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
Certificate: Passed 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, Wallace Ford, William H. Lynn
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. Whom can she trust?

Director: Stanley Donen
Stars: Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau
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
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A retired jewel thief sets out to prove his innocence after being suspected of returning to his former occupation.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis
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
Holiday (1938)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young man in love with a girl from a rich family finds his unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life 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
Suspicion (1941)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A shy young heiress marries a charming gentleman, and soon begins to suspect he is planning to murder her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand each other, without realizing that they are falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Stars: Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft
Edit

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 ... 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 Garry Owen ... Taxi Cab Driver
John Ridgely ... Saunders
Vaughan Glaser 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:

She Passed Out On Cary ! No Wonder . . . She's just discovered his favorite aunts have poisoned their 13th gentleman friend ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

23 September 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

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

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,120,175 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Raymond Massey's makeup, which was the subject of much debate during the production, required two hours to apply and two hours to remove. See more »

Goofs

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. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Girl on the Spot (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

The Sidewalks of New York
(1894) (uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor
Some bars in the score when Brooklyn is mentioned
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
My favorite classic movie!
7 September 2002 | by BadWebDiverSee all my reviews

This is my all-time favorite classic movie. It has an very sophisticatedly entertaining plot line, the casting is superb, the pace is breathtaking, and it deals with a subject (euthanasia) that is still controversial today. The story is a fine example of "black comedy", where a socially unacceptable idea is shown in a very entertaining manner.

The story is set up brilliantly right from the get-go; where a 'certifiable' publicly-acclaimed bachelor is secretly getting married. The personality of the cast is excellent. I know that Cary Grant reckoned this was his worst movie, saying it was more of a "Jimmy Stewart-type part"; but his spot-on comic timing and professional style hamming plays the role to perfection. Also co-starring in the movie is a brilliant Peter Lorre as a maniac doctor and Raymond Massey as the psychotic brother. Most critics have attacked this film by saying the script refers to the psycho being a Boris Karloff look-alike, highlighting the fact that Boris played the role is the original stage play. However Massey plays the role to deadpan perfection, and the humor of the scenario still works.

My favorite scene is the self-referential one where Mortimer (a theater critic)is describing "bad plays (and movies)". If you watch the background action, and pay attention to the dialog, the ironic situation is brilliantly realized. This film also has my personal favorite quote, said by Cary Grant as Peter Lorre frantically tries to warn him of impending doom; "Stop underplaying - I can't hear you!"


55 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 269 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed