Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Arsenic And Old Lace (1944)

Starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton
Directed by Frank Capra
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

An outspoken critic of marriage decides to tie the knot, but delays his honeymoon when he discovers his aunts have been poisoning gentleman callers.

The film adaptation of the well-known stage play suffers a bit from the failure to cast Boris Karloff in his role from the play as a killer who hates when people say he looks like Boris Karloff, a key witticism from the play.  Nevertheless, Raymond Massey cast in his place, plays the role about as well as any replacement could have, and the film is well-tailored to Grant's talents, whose double-takes upon discovering his aunt's secret are very amusing.  Like a number of other filmed plays, it's source material is very evident with nearly the entire film staged on a single set, but the witty screenplay by Philip & Julius Epstein and the engaging performances of the talented cast won me over.

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