Arsenic and Old Lace–RIP VI

Posted By on September 13, 2011

I pledged to watch Arsenic and Old Lace as part of the Peril on the Screen challenge for R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VI. With Cary Grant, it can’t help being romantic, but it’s also about family and mayhem, and for a writer, it shares a few home truths. (There’s a beat cop who patrols outside the Brewster abode who’s been working on a play all his adult life.)

I love the movie for its fab 40s fashions, its dialogue and macabre plot and Cary Grant being Cary Grant. My daughter and I never watch it without wishing aloud that Halloween might be like Halloween at the Brewster kitchen door. This year I watched it with a friend who’d never seen it so I enjoyed all the surprises through her eyes. I’m touched near the end when the constant motion slows for a sensitive moment (trying not to spoil). Besides being a crazy ride through a Halloween night, Arsenic and Old Lace is also a warm welcome to Autumn.

If you haven’t watched it, you need to. Right now!

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6 Responses to “Arsenic and Old Lace–RIP VI”

  1. Kailana says:

    I really need to watch more Cary Grant movies period. We were on a roll watching classic movies earlier this year, but it sort of fizzled out…

  2. admin says:

    You can never watch too many Cary Grant movies! And his amazing career spanned decades and genres!

  3. deslily says:

    love this movie, and of course i love cary grant ! There were such great character actors back then .. like those in this movie: Edward Everett Horton / Peter Lorre and
    James Gleason who pllayed the cop! with technology the way it is I see the decline of any younger people wanting to watch old black and white movies and I feel sorry for them not finding the outstanding actors and actresses of times gone by.

  4. admin says:

    I agree with you on all points! đŸ™‚ We just have to do our parts to keep these movies alive. Both my offspring are as likely to watch a “classic” movie as they are a brand new one. Which makes my addiction all the more pleasant! I have The Kennel Murder Case on right now as background noise while I work! Love anything with William Powell in it!

    I was just about to say how difficult it is to find some of these stories in their book form, when I realized I hadn’t searched for Philo Vance in some time–and I found a collection for my Kindle! Yay!

  5. Carl V. says:

    I look at movies like “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “You Can’t Take it With You” (just for two examples of movies I try to watch every year) I can’t help but think that no matter how good movies are today, they don’t do it like they used to. There is a natural perfection to “Arsenic and Old Lace” that makes the whole movie just sing. It is pitch perfect in every frame and manages to convey humor and romance and fright and fun all in one zany, madcap adventure. We love introducing it to people who haven’t see it as well, its always fun to see how they’ll react.

  6. admin says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I often wonder what it is that gives the older movies so much more texture. I took a class from Robert McKee on Story, and one of the interesting sort of side facts he talked about was that scripts in those years were 120 pages vs. 90 pages now. That alone gives you more word count to use to weave more story, but I don’t think that’s the whole key. I’m amazed at the speed at which they worked on movies in the studio days, too. But, back to Arsenic and Old Lace, it was great seeing it with my friend. Her reactions made me love it even more!

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