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Arsenic and Old Lace

USA 1944
produced by
Jack L. Warner (executive) for Warner Brothers
directed by Frank Capra
starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, Peter Lorre, James Gleason, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, John Alexander, Grant Mitchell, Edward McNamara, Garry Owen, John Ridgely, Vaughan Glaser, Chester Clute, Charles Lane, Edward McWade
screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, based on the play by Joseph Kesselring, music by Max Steiner

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) really has any reason to feel the luckiest guy alive, having just married his sweetheart Elaine (Priscilla Lane), with the cab waiting for their Niagara Falls honeymoon already. And the only thing he has to do while Elaine's packing her things is telling his aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair), who brought him up, the good news - when he finds a dead men in their window chest. Now he immediately suspects cousin Teddy (John Alexander), who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt, to have finally snapped and killed someone - and is thus all the more shocked that his aunts freely admit to having poisoned the man, as an act of charity mind you, and they have poisoned 11 other men, all buried neatly in the basement, all lonely men without family, to release them from their loneliness. Now this comes as an understandable shock to Mortimer, who then does his best to have Teddy committed - and totally forgetting about Elaine waiting for him in the process. But while Mortimer's trying to make arrangements and the night progresses, his brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey) and his sidekick Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre) break into the house. Now Jonathan is a ruthless killer who will slaughter everyone who tells him he looks like Boris Karloff - a result of botched up plastic surgery by the hands of Dr. Einstein. Now Jonathan and Einstein have a dead body with them and have the idea to bury him in the basement - and are quite shocked to learn that Aunts Abby and Martha have been burying stiffs there for years. Now of course, the arrival of Jonathan and Einstein complicates things immensely, and the arrival of a totally incompetent cop (Jack Carson) only adds to the chaos - but ultimately everything culminates in a happy ending, even if quite a few of the involved land either in the slammer or the loonie bin ...

 

There's no two ways to put it, Arsenic and Old Lace is a next to perfect black comedy, and one that really stands the test of time: Now the cast is outstanding (and Raymond Massey does a great job with a role specifically written for the great Boris Karloff), the script is perfectly structured to make a gradual drift from wholesome comedy to house of horrors, the dialogue's extremely poignant, the characters are relatable despite of their eccentrities required by the film's premise, and the direction is just on the point throughout. And despite its macabre premise, this is old Hollywood at its very best, and a definite must-see!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD