Arsenic and Old Lace (movie)
Arsenic and Old Lace is a film directed by Frank Capra based on a play (see Arsenic and Old Lace (play)) by Joseph Kesselring. The script was adapted by Julius J. Epstein. Capra actually filmed the movie in 1941 but it was not released until 1944 while the studio waited for the stage version to finish its run on Broadway.
In addition to Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, the film also starred Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as the Brewster Sisters, Abby and Martha, respectively. Both Hull and Adair reprised their roles from the original 1941 stage production as well as John Alexander as Teddy.Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.
The film concerns a theatre-hating drama critic and confirmed bachelor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) who on his wedding day must cope with his bizarre family, especially his two elderly aunts who live in the old family home in Brooklyn.
Mortimer's aunts are "kindly" serving lonely old bachelors elderberry wine poisoned with arsenic and then burying the bodies in the basement. His younger brother Teddy thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and yells "Charge!" when running up the stairs (after Teddy Roosevelt's 'charge up San Juan Hill'). Mortimer's other brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey), a wanted murderer whose face resembles that of Frankenstein's creature (as portrayed by Boris Karloff, a comparison frequently made in the film's dialogue), arrives with a surgeon, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre) in tow. Eventually, Mortimer is overjoyed to discover that he is not biologically related to these insane people, and is actually the son of a sea cook.
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Eventually, Mortimer is overjoyed to discover that he is not biologically related to these insane people, and is actually the son of a sea cook. Since then, films have been produced which accept the artistic challenge to dare to find humour in that situation, such as Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful (1997). Einstein (Peter Lorre) in tow. In 1968, following the uncovering of the Holocaust, Chaplin stated that he would not have been able to make such jokes about the Nazi regime had he known about the actual extent of the pogrom. Mortimer's other brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey), a wanted murderer whose face resembles that of Frankenstein's creature (as portrayed by Boris Karloff, a comparison frequently made in the film's dialogue), arrives with a surgeon, Dr. This may have been some indication of Hitler's personal opinion of Chaplin after this project (if not directly of the film's artistic merits). His younger brother Teddy thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt and yells "Charge!" when running up the stairs (after Teddy Roosevelt's 'charge up San Juan Hill'). Less than two months after the release of The Great Dictator, footage of Chaplin appeared in the anti-Semitic propaganda film Der ewige Jude, despite Chaplin not being Jewish.
Mortimer's aunts are "kindly" serving lonely old bachelors elderberry wine poisoned with arsenic and then burying the bodies in the basement. His reaction to it was not recorded, however, and Chaplin has been quoted as saying "I'd give anything to know what he thought of it". The film concerns a theatre-hating drama critic and confirmed bachelor Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) who on his wedding day must cope with his bizarre family, especially his two elderly aunts who live in the old family home in Brooklyn. The film was banned in all occupied countries, but Hitler, who was a great fan of movies, is known to have seen the film twice (records were kept of movies ordered for his personal theater). Both Hull and Adair reprised their roles from the original 1941 stage production as well as John Alexander as Teddy. (In France the film is known as Le Dictateur.). In addition to Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, the film also starred Josephine Hull and Jean Adair as the Brewster Sisters, Abby and Martha, respectively. Chaplin balked at the conditions and inserted "Great" into the title.
Capra actually filmed the movie in 1941 but it was not released until 1944 while the studio waited for the stage version to finish its run on Broadway. Chaplin originally intended to call the film The Dictator, but received notice from Paramount Pictures that they'd charge him $25,000 for use of the title—they owned the rights to an unrelated novel by Richard Harding Davis. Epstein. Garbitsch, the right hand man of Hynkel is very similar to Goebbels and Field Marshall Herring was clearly modelled after the Luftwaffe chief, Hermann Goering while beyond doubt Napaloni was modelled after Benito Mussolini. The script was adapted by Julius J. The names of the aides of Adenoid Hynkel was very similar to that of Hitler. Arsenic and Old Lace is a film directed by Frank Capra based on a play (see Arsenic and Old Lace (play)) by Joseph Kesselring. but I was determined to go ahead for Hitler must be laughed at.".
When interviewed about this film being on such a touchy subject, Charlie Chaplin had only this to say: "Half-way through making The Great Dictator I began receiving alarming messages from United Artists.. The film was released in France in April 1945, shortly after the liberation of Paris. The film eventually opened in New York City in September, 1940, to a wider American audience in October and the United Kingdom in December. The project continued largely because failure would have bankrupted Chaplin who had invested $1.5m of his own money in the project.
Speculation grew that this and other anti-fascist films such as Mortal Storm and Four Sons would remain unreleased given the United States's neutral relationship with Germany. The making of the film coincided with rising tensions throughout the world. (There was even a song about Hitler, entitled "Who is This Man Who Looks like Charlie Chaplin?") Furthermore, the men were born four days apart in April, 1889, and grew up in relative poverty. Chaplin and Hitler had superficially similar looks, most famously their moustaches, and this similarity is most commented upon.
Several similarities between Hitler and Chaplin have been noted and may have been a pivotal factor in Chaplin's decision to make The Great Dictator. The film was Chaplin's first true talking picture and helped shake off accusations of Luddism following his previous release (Modern Times) released in 1936 when the silent era had all but ended in the late 1920s. Chaplin also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and Oakie for Best Supporting Actor; the film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The film was written and directed by Chaplin. Zamenhof, a Polish Jew. Esperanto was invented by Dr L.L. In a more subtle political statement, the signs in the shop windows of the ghettoized Jewish population in the film are written in Esperanto.
(See the article on Charlie Chaplin for further detail).  below) as a personal plea from Chaplin. Chaplin's plea, seen as an overtly political speech, may be part of the reason Chaplin was expelled from the United States during the McCarthy era. The address is widely interpreted (see e.g. The film ends with the barber, having been mistaken for the dictator, delivering a radio address to the nation following the Tomanian take-over of Osterlich (an obvious reference to the German Anschluss of Austria on March 12, 1938).
The dictator's famous line "first we get the Jews, and then the brunettes" is typical of the film's satirical take on Hitler's anti-Semitic policies. The film contains several famous sequences: Chaplin, as the barber, shaving a customer in time to a radio broadcast of Johannes Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5;recorded in one continuous take. Chaplin stars in a double role as the Jewish barber (the Little Tramp in all but name) and the fascist dictator, clearly modeled on Adolf Hitler. The film stars Chaplin as Hynkel and the barber, Paulette Goddard as Hannah, Jack Oakie as Napaloni, Reginald Gardiner as Schultz, Henry Daniell as Garbitsch and Billy Gilbert as Field Marshal Herring, an incompetent advisor to Hynkel.
To which she does, and the film concludes. Look up, Hannah!". Then, she hears on the radio the barber's speech. He addresses her directly: "Hannah, can you hear me? Wherever you are, look up! Look up, Hannah! The clouds are lifting, the sun is breaking through! We are coming out of the darkness into the light! We are coming into a new world; a kindlier world, where men will rise above their greed, their hate and their brutality. Hannah lies on the ground outside her home, despairing after the invasion.
Then, in an abrupt change of tone, the barber (who they think is Hynkel) instead pleads for an end to intolerance and bloodshed, urging all of mankind to rediscover humanity in their hearts and fight for "a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to the happiness of us all.". Garbitsch precedes him, decrying the principles of free speech and others, declaring them as being old and causing too much trouble. Schultz and the barber are taken by car to the Osterlich capital, where a gargantuan platform waits for Hynkel to make his victory speech. Schultz and the barber walk toward the Osterlich border and are met by Tomanian soldiers, who think the barber is Hynkel.
While this is going on, the Tomanians take Osterlich, and stormtroopers raid Hannah's home. But stormtroopers, mistaking Hynkel for the barber, capture him instead. Meanwhile, Garbitsch has planned for Hynkel to go hunting near the Osterlich border, then meet the Tomanian troops once they have cleared the way into the Osterlich capital. The alarm is raised.
Schultz and the barber escape from the camp in uniforms of the Double Cross (Hynkel's party) and begin to walk confidently toward the border. The barber gets letters from Hannah, who has escaped over the border to Osterlich with her family. The barber and he try to escape, but are captured and sent to a concentration camp. A raid occurs, aiming to find Schultz.
Hynkel decrees Schultz a traitor, and he goes in hiding with the barber and the families living in the featured block of the ghetto. Schultz, then, informs Hynkel that his plans are "idiotic", since it "rests on the persecution of innocent people". Hynkel relaxes the anti-Semitic policy in order to aid the cogwheels of the deal, however the deal fails, and Hynkel again reinforces the policy. Hynkel however needs funds to take Osterlich and aims to settle a deal with a Jewish firm.
Garbitsch advises Hynkel to sign anyway, and that Tomania will take Osterlich whether Napaloni's forces are there or not. Later, Hynkel and Napaloni are in a private room with a buffet, with Napaloni proposing a written document that says that the Bacterian forces will retreat from the border if Hynkel signs, which leads to an argument whether Bacteria will follow through if Hynkel signs, that leads to a foodfight. Napaloni, however, is quite boisterous compared to the relatively cool-headed Hynkel, and we see how Hynkel tries to out-psych Napaloni, including a ridiculously low chair as organized by Garbitsch. Hynkel invites the leader of Bacteria, Benzino Napaloni to Tomania in order to discuss the matter.
Hynkel is advised by Garbitsch that the first step in his plan is to invade free Osterlich, however the nearby country of Bacteria has troops on the border of the country. Hynkel grabs for the globe and it bursts, and he, in an almost melodromatic manner, falls over his desk in tears. Meanwhile, Hynkel is getting ideas about taking over the world, from his right hand man, Garbitsch (pronounced 'garbage'). Hynkel clearly becomes infatuated with the idea, and one famous scene from the movie involves Chaplin, as the dictator, bouncing an inflatable globe dreamily, almost in a romantic manner, about the room, as the prelude to Act 1 of Wagner's Lohengrin plays. Schultz recognizes the barber ("Pity, I always thought you were an Aryan," Schultz tells him), and decrees to the other stormtroopers to leave the people in the block with Hannah and the barber alone.
This however causes the other stormtroopers to take notice, who arrive at the scene—with Schultz. He returns to his shop, unaware of the changes and of the harassment that goes on, and begins to resist unintentionally, which inspires Hannah. We learn now that the soldier previously is in fact a poor Jewish barber, and that he has been in the hospital and suffering from amnesia. Meanwhile, Hannah, a Jew in the ghetto of Tomania, tries her best on her own to stand up to the harassment of the stormtroopers who intimidate her family, and a fellow shopkeeper.
Schultz is one of Hynkel's right hand men, and initially supports Hynkel's policies of persecuting the Jews in the ghettos, by means of harassment by the stormtroopers. Later, we discover Adenoid Hynkel (who looks surprisingly like the soldier), the dictator of Tomania, is in power. The plane finally crashes, leading Schultz to escape from the wreckage, but the unnamed soldier is left wounded. Soon he ends up helping a wounded pilot into flying away to safety from an attack, leading to a humorous routine where the plane is upside down and the obliviousness of the wounded Commander Schultz.
We first see a rather clumsy soldier in the field, trying to help his fellow soldiers in battle, but he seems to be too friendly and nice to be suited for the battlefields of his country, Tomania. The film, first released in October 15, 1940, is a satire on fascism and in particular Adolf Hitler and Nazism. The Great Dictator is a film directed by and starring Charlie Chaplin. National Film Theatre/British Film Institute Notes on The Great Dictator.
Princeton, 1989. Maland. Charles J. Chaplin and American Culture: The Evolution of a Star Image.