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Arsenic and Old Lace (1969)

Unrated | | Comedy | TV Movie 2 April 1969
A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director:

Robert Scheerer

Writers:

Luther Davis (adaptation), Joseph Kesselring (play)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Lillian Gish ... Martha Brewster
Helen Hayes ... Abby Brewster
Bob Crane ... Mortimer Brewster (as Robert Crane)
Fred Gwynne ... Jonathan Brewster
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy De Wolfe ... Officer O'Hara
Richard Deacon ... Mr. Witherspoon
Bob Dishy ... Cop
Jack Gilford ... Dr. Jonas Salk
Sue Lyon ... Elaine Harper
David Wayne ... Teddy Brewster
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Storyline

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Arsénico por compasión See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Helen Hayes had previously played Abby in a television broadcast on January 5 1955. See more »

Connections

Version of Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overacted, poorly-scripted TV production of a dinner theater perennial
10 June 2017 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Luther Davis adapted (and misguidedly updated) Joseph Kesselring's play about two darling little old ladies in Brooklyn, sisters who commit a series of murders, visited by their now-grown nephew who is aghast at the comically grisly goings-on. Broadcast by ABC-TV, this galumphing special was filmed live before a studio audience (with awkwardly interjected pre-filmed exteriors), though the combination of Robert Scheerer's static direction and the manic performances cause even the (amplified) audience laughter to sound artificial. Helen Hayes and Lillian Gish play the murdering siblings (Hayes recreating her role from a previous television production from 1955); while the two seasoned stars have the comic timing to put this production over, they have been encouraged to play up this material to the proverbial rafters. Bob (Robert) Crane (then-hot from TV's "Hogan's Heroes") tries his best as their nephew, but the supporting players are lost at sea, including Sue Lyon (looking unsure), Bob Dishy, Fred Gwynne, Jack Gilford and David Wayne. Writer Davis brings the play into the 1960s in order to make the nephew a TV critic bemoaning all the violence on the tube, though nothing much else is done with the time change (and it plays havoc besides with some of the characterizations, Gwynne's and Gilford's in particular, which seem frozen in the 1940s). Hammy and unfunny in the extreme, this version of the chestnut is stricken with a fatal case of the cutes.


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