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Arsenic and Old Lace

Despite the fact that picture runs 118 minutes, Frank Capra has expanded on the original play [by Joseph Kesselring] to a sufficient extent to maintain a steady, consistent pace. With what he has crammed into the running time, film doesn't seem that long. The majority of the action is confined to one set, that of the home of the two amiably nutty aunts who believe it's kind to poison people they come in contact with and their non-violently insane brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt.

With:
Cary Grant Priscilla Lane Raymond Massey Jack Carson Peter Lorre Edward Everett Horton

Despite the fact that picture runs 118 minutes, Frank Capra has expanded on the original play [by Joseph Kesselring] to a sufficient extent to maintain a steady, consistent pace. With what he has crammed into the running time, film doesn’t seem that long. The majority of the action is confined to one set, that of the home of the two amiably nutty aunts who believe it’s kind to poison people they come in contact with and their non-violently insane brother who thinks he’s Teddy Roosevelt.

Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane are paired romantically. They open the picture getting married but are delayed in their honeymoon when Grant finds his two screwy aunts have been bumping off people in their house, burying them in the cellar and even holding thoughtful funeral ceremonies for them. The laughs that surround his efforts to get John Alexander, the ‘Teddy Roosevelt’ of the picture, committed to an institution; troubles that come up when a maniacal long-lost brother shows up after a world tour of various murders with a phoney doctor, and other plot elements make for diversion of a very agreeable character.

Popular on Variety

Arsenic and Old Lace

Production: Warner. Director Frank Capra; Producer Frank Capra; Writer Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein; Camera Sol Polito Editor Daniel Mandell; Music Max Steiner Art Max Parker

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1944. Running time: 118 MIN.

With: Cary Grant Priscilla Lane Raymond Massey Jack Carson Peter Lorre Edward Everett Horton

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