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.
. Einstein (Peter Lorre) in tow. Famous scenes include Hubert's rapid promotion to knight in preparation for a joust against a champion; the joust itself, which involves the need for him to remember a tongue-twister in order not to drink the poisoned wine (The Pellet With The Poison in the Flagon with the Dragon); and the final duel in which Hubert has been hypnotised into feeling brave, only to revert to his normal cowardly state every time anyone snaps their fingers. 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. Kaye's boundless energy and wit make this movie a classic. 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'). He is challenged to a joust by Sir Griswold (The Grim and Gruesome Grisly Griswold), but with the help of the magic potions of the witch Griselda, She of the Evil Eye, he wins the joust and also defeats Ravenhurst at swordplay.

Mortimer's aunts are "kindly" serving lonely old bachelors elderberry wine poisoned with arsenic and then burying the bodies in the basement. In this guise, he contrives to worm his way into the King's confidence and pretends to be an assassin-for-hire to the evil Lord Ravenhurst. 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. Much hilarity ensues as Kaye infiltrates the evil King Roderick's castle by impersonating the king's new talented and multilingual jester, Giacomo. Both Hull and Adair reprised their roles from the original 1941 stage production as well as John Alexander as Teddy. Ostensibly set in medieval England, the plot nominally concerns the struggle to restore the rightful heir, a child, to the throne, the King and all his family having been murdered or otherwise disposed of. Kaye plays Hubert Hawkins, an ex-carnival entertainer, who becomes minstrel to the Black Fox, a Robin Hood-type character (who actually makes only a minor appearance in the film), played by Edward Ashley. 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.
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