Arsenic and Old Lace

Film, Comedy
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Joseph Kesselring's black comedy about two quaint spinsters with the murderous capabilities of Venus Flycatchers comes across as dusty but gentle entertainment. As transferred to the screen by Capra, it's dusty but ferocious, with rampant overacting and little sense of comic timing. Cary Grant, doing enough double-takes to dislocate his eyeballs for life, gives a particularly horrible performance. Best value is given by Massey and Lorre (playing two wandering criminals), who don't struggle to get laughs and just act macabre. It's all weird, but not wonderful.

By: GB

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Frank Capra
Screenwriter: Philip G Epstein, Julius J Epstein
Cast: Jean Adair
Josephine Hull
Jack Carson
Edward Everett Horton
Cary Grant
Peter Lorre
Raymond Massey
Priscilla Lane
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