Arsenic and Old Lace

Title: Arsenic and Old Lace
Year: 1944
Director: Frank Capra
Writers: Julius J. Epstein & Philip G. Epstein, based on the play by Joseph Kesselring
Starring: Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane
Music: Max Steiner
Distinctions: currently #234 on IMDb’s Top 250
Synopsis: a newlywed finds out his sweet old aunts have been killing people
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), May 2008
Subjective Rating: 5/10 (Indifferent).
Objective Rating: 0/10 c. 1.3/4 (Bad).

Filming a farcical play is almost always a bad idea, and this is a bad farcical play, badly filmed. Grant is terrible. Peter Lorre is great. Everyone else (on either side of the camera) is just getting by. The story comes down to mayhem until time is up, then cue the police. The characters are just walking excuses for hamming. As far as entertainment value goes, it could be a lot worse, but I don’t see why anyone would think this is a good movie.


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