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Arsenic and Old Lace [DVD] 
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DVD Special Features:
Languages in Mono: English, French, Italian
Subtitles: English, French, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romanian, Bulgarian, English for the hearing impaired, Italian for the hearing impaired.
In 1941, when Frank Capra filmed Arsenic and Old Lace, he was in the midst of his string of social-concern pictures. So this uncharacteristic property must have seemed like a vacation; it's a straight farce, played at full tilt and closely adapted from the Broadway play. Almost all of the action takes place on a single set: the old home of the Brewster sisters (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair), those dear, dotty old ladies who mix up a very special elderberry wine. Very special. As their nephew Mortimer (Cary Grant) discovers on the eve of his wedding, the two ladies have been spiking the wine with poison and sending lonely gentleman callers off to the great beyond. More specifically, they've been burying them in the cellar with the help of nutty Uncle Teddy, who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt (and thus digging the Panama Canal down in the basement). The ominous happenings are made more sinister with the arrival of another menacing relative (RaymondMassey) and his quack doctor (Peter Lorre), who look and act like refugees from a horror movie. Played completely over the top, this movie offers up lots of bracing slapstick, with Grant run to near exhaustion by the galloping insanity of his family. Although Capra shot the film in 1941, prior to his making military films during World War II, the film was not released until 1944; the contract stipulated that the movie not come out before the play ended its enormously successful run. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
The frantic action, ironies, and the dramatic surprises all center around two bodies, hidden at various times in the window seat of the living room, and the reactions to them by the various people within the household. The local police, friends of Aunts Abby and Martha, stop by to chat, have coffee, and protect these "sweet" old ladies, often at the worst possible moments, while Mortimer tries to decide what to do about his strange family and the bodies in the house. Complicating the action is the fact that Mortimer has just that day married Elaine (Priscilla Lane), who lives next door. She keeps showing up at the house at the wrong moment, having no idea why Mortimer keeps kicking her out.
Sight gags, mistaken identity, contretemps, high-speed action, and split second timing make this one of the most outrageous, and hilarious black comedies ever filmed. The cast is perfect, and the acting is over-the-top, with a great deal of yelling, mugging, wide-eyed looks of surprise, feigned innocence, and even satire of the film industry as people repeatedly tell Jonathan he looks like Boris Karloff.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A film I like to watch from time to time. Good to get it on DVD and replace an old VHS copy. Grant is brilliant and a great supporting cast.Published 11 days ago by J. Fieldhouse
An old favourite, and as good as the day it first hit the screen. The DVD was purchased as 'Used', but in perfect condition, with only a mark on the case, stated in the original... Read morePublished 1 month ago by DonGraham
This does depend on your view of classic comedy - this is it! If you love old films ,you'll be delighted but many consider them slow and simple. I loved it.Published 1 month ago by Dai
This is an old story but so funny and good to watch. Cary Grant is fantastic. Love this filmPublished 1 month ago by Mrs Si Stevenson
Great Cary Grant fan, so this was ideal for me. A real classic black & white. Good picture & sound quality.Published 2 months ago by G M Payne