Customer Reviews


72 Reviews
5 star:
 (56)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly delicious!
You would have to be suicidal or made of granite not to warm to Frank Capra's finest films. Everybody loves It's a Wonderful Life for its life-affirming humanity, but Arsenic and Old Lace is just a good old-fashioned farce which by 1944 standards must have seemed inky black in its treatment of death. The years have been kind to this film - it has matured beautifully and...
Published on 19 Oct 2003 by Andy Millward

versus
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Screwball fun
Entertaining, but also contrived and overdone. Cary Grant's manic zeal is ultimately tiresome. NB Screwball comedies of the 40s are an acquired taste.
Published on 4 April 2008 by Dominic Swayne


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly delicious!, 19 Oct 2003
By 
Andy Millward (Tiptree, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
You would have to be suicidal or made of granite not to warm to Frank Capra's finest films. Everybody loves It's a Wonderful Life for its life-affirming humanity, but Arsenic and Old Lace is just a good old-fashioned farce which by 1944 standards must have seemed inky black in its treatment of death. The years have been kind to this film - it has matured beautifully and simply leaves a big wide smile on your face.
However, there is plenty more on offer: Cary Grant may be gloriously over the top, but the splendidly observed supporting performances can be treasured. In particular, Josephine Hull and Jean Adair at the two aunts, Raymond Massey as the homicidal brother and Peter Lorre as his fussy and fragile plastic surgeon.
This is simple escapist entertainment relying on age-old virtues of good script, timing, acting ability and top notch direction - who needs computer-generated special effects anyway!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feather In His Capra, 30 Sep 2006
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
This must rank up there as one of the funniest movies ever made; certianly one of Grant's best; it slick black humour and slapstick comedy is the driving force behind its appeal; it never lets up on the laughs from begining to end; a pure delight to watch again and again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madcap comedy, 6 Dec 2011
By 
M. J. Wright (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
This movie was originally staged as a Broadway comedy, and it shows. Fast paced dialogue, sudden entries and exits, tons of dramatic irony and lots of physical humour all contribute to an hilarious climax. All the action proceeds on a single set, as the hapless Cary Grant tries to manage an increasingly insane and homicidal set of relatives. All this on a Brooklyn Halloween, with the taxi driver waiting next to the cemetry outside. Don't worry, even the most menacing character is absurd or sweet enough to take any sense of horror away, and everything is played for laughs, not screams. A gem of its kind, from a gentler age, when relationships and relatives could be relied on to be sweet, most of the time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but better in original black and white, 21 Oct 2001
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
This is a classic farce masterfully directed by Frank Capra and starring Cary Grant as a lifelong batchelor trying to get married but having trouble with his literally insane family. That's about all you need to know to want to buy this movie BUT the big dissapointment with this movie is that it is in colour when it was shot in black and white. Why do they do this? Most people want to see a movie as the director meant it to be seen and before his death Frank Capra himself expressed his displeasure at the adding of colour to his classic movies and it is a classic. The choice is yours...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ****Perfect viewing on a cold and wet winters afternoon****, 15 Oct 2002
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
This is a classic farce masterfully directed by Frank Capra and starring Cary Grant as a lifelong batchelor trying to get married but having trouble with his literally insane family. If you like old movies, love old Cary Grant movies and enjoy nothing better than watching them on a cold, wet winters evening or afternoon, you'll love this. If you don't like Cary Grant you wont like this. If your looking for It's a Wonderful Life, you wont find it here but you will find an old fashioned farce that looks like it was adapted from the stage (and was adapted from the stage). But it's great fun and that's about all you need to know to about this movie BUT please don't buy the colour print of this movie. Why do they add colour to a movie that originally shot in black and white? Surely most people want to see the original versions of their favorite movies on DVD and it doesn't need colour to enhance it. It's fine as it is in good old fashioned black and white... it's a good old fashioned classic that'll make you reminisce about how "they don't make films like that anymore"...Enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arsenic and Old Lace DVD, 23 Oct 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
I loved this timeless classic. A laugh out loud film. Thoroughly enjoyable.Delightfully dotty maiden Aunts add to this lighthearted comedy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evergreen, 24 July 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
A sworn bachelor has just converted to marriage and is about to leave for his honeymoon when he finds out good reasons to fear that total madness runs in his family... His lovely aunts have a very effective method to put an end to other people's loneliness; his brother suffers from delusions on his identity. Only in the end will he discover that the general folly is not a danger for himself, his wife and future descendants. Great fun, the classical way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun Halloween story, 15 Dec 2004
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
I have seen this movie dozens of times on TV. The problem is they always cut out a lot of the little nuances that make the movie fun; sometimes it is curtail to the story. Now you can see the whole story in its entirety. Lots of sight gags and relies on many expressions to convey what they are thinking. If this looks like a play, that is because it is a play. It was written by Joseph Kesserling and opened in New York City 10 JAN 41. It ran for 1,444 performances. Boris Karloff was an investor and the star attraction so he could not be released for the movie.
The story takes place all on Halloween night in Brooklyn. Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) a critic, that wrote a scathing book about the negatives of marriage, gets married. He soon finds out about his families past and where the bodies are buried. Soon he is to be visited by his estranged or just strange brother (Raymond Massey). Seems that his brother and his brother's friend, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre), has some secrets of their own. Keep your eye on the elderberry wine.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its Capra..but not as i know it !, 27 April 2007
By 
T. Williams "Maranatha!" (North West, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
I bought this film on the strength of Capra's back catalogue of great titles such as It's a Wonderful Life, It Happened One Night and Mr Smith Goes to Washington. I did not know the story and what to expect and was quickly enchanted by this masterpiece. Funny, at times pleasantly spooky, great performances from every actor involved (and a Karloff look-alike to boot), and a cracking screenplay from the Epstein brothers (Casablanca) all combine to create one of the best comedies ever made.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny premise but a flawed execution (pun intended), 12 Aug 2007
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) has a problem. He's a newspaper critic known for his complaints about marriage, who just got married. Before the news breaks he wants to tell his two nice, elderly aunts, but when he arrives at their home he discovers the aunts have a combination hobby and charity. They poison lonely old men, then have them buried in their basement by their addled brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt. "Teddy" is concerned about all those yellow fever deaths, but digging the locks for the canal provides a logical burial place. When Mortimer discovers his aunts' 13th work of charity in a window seat, his troubles are just beginning. Showing up unexpectedly is Mortimer's criminal brother, Jonathan (Raymond Massey), an escaped psycho who, thanks to the botched facial surgery of his partner, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre), now resembles Boris Karloff. And wandering in and out are some great character actors, including Jack Carson as a play-writing cop, James Gleason as a police superintendent, Edward Everett Horton as the head of a home for the insane, and Grant Withers as a bemused clergyman.

What could not be funny with such a setup and with such actors? Well...Cary Grant, in my view, nearly does the movie in. Grant (or Frank Capra) seems to think playing farce means squatting and walking like a chimpanzee, talking as loudly and fast as possible, and mugging broadly for the camera at every opportunity. There are many good things in this movie, but, for me, Grant overacts, something he rarely did in his other films. I suppose the blame rests with Capra.

Hull, Adair and John Alexander who plays Teddy originated their parts in the stage presentation. One of the funny conceits was that playing Jonathan on Broadway actually was Boris Karloff. I've been told that when the movie was filmed the stage play was still doing good business. The producers let the three take six weeks to make the movie, but wouldn't release Karloff. They thought he was too important for ticket sales. It's too bad. As good as Raymond Massey is in the role (he shows a real flair for deadpan humor), having the real Karloff become enraged because his surgeon botched the operation and made him look like Karloff would have been unusually funny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa99c9594)

This product

Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944]
Arsenic And Old Lace [DVD] [1944] by Frank Capra (DVD - 2001)
5.82
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews