Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) is an author and avowed bachelor for life who finds himself married. Before his honeymoon he rushes to visit his favorite aunties to break the news when he finds that they have been busy poisoning people and burring them in their basement. To complicate matters, his bully of an older brother (Raymond Massey) shows up running from the law, with a body of his own.

Based on the play, Arsenic and Old Lace stays fairly true to it's theatrical roots. The movie, almost in it's entirety, takes place in one room. Witty dialog, good acting, fast pace, it was an enjoyable watch.

What was interesting was how self-referential it was. In one scene in a grave yard, Grant is near a stone that reads Archie Leach, his real name. Massey's character underwent cosmetic surgery to hide from the authorities, but his doctor (Peter Lorre) made the mistake of making him look like Boris Karloff, who during filming was playing that character in the Broadway play. And in another scene Mortimer is mocking how people act in plays while the exact same situation happens around him. To tell the truth, I found it a little irritating.

Worth seeing, even if Grant hated his own performance. AMRU 3.5.
Elaine Harper: But Mortimer, you're going to love me for my mind, too.
Mortimer Brewster: One thing at a time!

No comments:

Post a Comment