Sunday, October 21, 2007

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Four stars...I have lost track of how many times I've seen it.

This movie is the reason I love Cary Grant. The faces he makes, his comedic timing, the ways he flips over chairs and over himself... I watch every Cary Grant movie I can get my hands on hoping for more of this.

There is also just something wonderful about a dark comedy in which two sweet little spinster aunts poison lonely bachelors with elderberry wine and bury them in the basement just to be nice and helpful. The men are their "charity cases." Mortimer Brewster (Grant) arrives home with his new bride and steps right into the middle of his aunts' latest charity case. At first he thinks his nutty brother Teddy has killed the dead man he discovers in the window seat, but his aunts soon set him straight:

Mortimer: Men don't just get into window seats and die!
Abby: Of course not, dear. He died first.
Mortimer: But how?
Abby: The gentleman died because he drank some wine with poison in it. Now, I don't know why you're making such a big deal over this, Mortimer. Don't you worry about a thing!

Mortimer's brother Teddy believes that he is actually Teddy Roosevelt and spends part of the the movie digging locks in the basement for the Panama Canal... holes that really end up as graves for the lonely bachelors. By the time Mortimer's convict brother Jonathan appears in the house to hide the body of his own murder victim (although the aunts object, because a crook should not be buried next to their nice gentlemen) there is almost too much insanity to keep track of. Poor Mortimer has to try to cover for his aunts and Teddy, try to protect everyone and himself from Jonathan, and worry that he will go insane like the rest of his family. "Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops," says Mortimer. Such a fun movie.

I'm not a cab driver, I'm a coffee pot.

1 comment:

Ms. Q said...

I think you may have left out keyword "nutty aunts"...I really do love this movie, but I'm always torn between rolling off the couch laughing and reaching my hands into the TV and making the characters look behind them. Therefore, Bringing Up Baby always has the edge on this one for daft CG films.