"Arsenic and Old Lace" (1944)
I did not know what to expect when I saw Arsenic and Old Lace for the first time the other night. I do know that I was taken for a wild ride and saw Cary Grant in a way that I had never seen him before. He was his suave and charismatic self but he was also incredibly goofy and funny. Actually I thought he must have had a blast with his role as "Mortimer Brewster", because it really looked like fun to play him.
"Arsenic and Old Lace" was originally a play until Frank Capra directed it in 1941 but it wasn't released until 1944. Joining Grant in the cast were the Brewster sisters (his aunts in the film) played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair. Hull and Adair, as well as John Alexander who plays "Teddy Roosevelt" were reprising their roles from the 1941 stage production.
Grant hiding from reporters while trying to get a marriage certificate/Hull and Adair as the
Brewster Sisters-the kind, misguided, and beloved aunts of Mortimer's (Grant)
The film begins with Mortimer (Grant) and his fiancee Elaine, played by Priscilla Lane, on line trying to get a marriage license. Mortimer is a known and famous bachelor so he fears news getting out of his marriage. Honestly the first fifteen minutes of this film got me hooked! Grant was so animated that I was just glued to the screen!
Grant's goofy and funny faces in this film are halarious!
This spotlight is a wee bit tricky to write because I truly don't want to spoil the fun for you if you were to see this film (it is currently on Netflix). I hope viewing the photos above gives you an inkling of what sort of zaniness you will find while watching.
Mortimer is faced with two seemingly innocent and sweet aunts who involve themselves in a head spinning extracurricular activity. All the while attempting to commit one brother to the insane asylum and trying to survive the wrath of another brother. In the midst of this madness, poor Elaine is trying to run off with her husband to their honeymoon but doesn't understand why he is pushing her away or being mysterious.
My favorite bit of the movie was the very end with the cabdriver. I was left in stitches! Basically you realize everyone is just a little crazy, even the cabby!!
This film was pure joy to watch-I enjoyed seeing Grant in something very different than his usual roles. As well as seeing a film that was so well written and filled with great humor as well as lots of insanity...hehe