Movie: Halloween Film watching with a little Arsenic

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If you are looking for the perfect movie to watch this Halloween weekend, I’ve got a winner! 1944’s Arsenic and Old Lace, directed by Frank Capra and starring Cary Grant, the story opens innocently enough…on Halloween. It has murder, mayhem and dead bodies a-plenty.

Classic Horror actor Peter Lorre has a supporting roll as does the excellent Raymond Massey who takes on the part of Jonathan Brewster, Boris Karloff’s part from the stage play. All the acting is superb throughout this “Dark Comedy.”


Arsenic and Old Lace, is a screwball comedy with dark undertones.

Cary Grant, one of my favorite actors, is hilarious as Mortimer Brewster, looking to find a way to right his world as everything has turned upside down.

Mortimer: “Look, Aunt Martha, men don’t just get into window seats and die!”
Aunt Abby: “We know, dear. He died first.”
Mortimer: “Wait a minute! Stop all this. Now, look, darling, how did he die?”
Aunt Abby: “Oh, Mortimer, don’t be so inquisitive. The gentleman died because he drank some wine with poison in it.”
Mortimer: “How did the poison get in the wine?”
Aunt Martha: “Well, we put it in wine, because it’s less noticeable. When it’s in tea, it has a distinct odor.”

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Arsenic and Old Lace – It’s just what the (witch) doctor ordered for Halloween – murder, suspense, lots of laughter, and even a bit of a love story.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry – you’ll cry from laughing.

“Look I probably should have told you this before but you see… well… insanity runs in my family… It practically gallops.”
– Mortimer Brewster, Arsenic and Old Lace

This movie review is part of a series of monthly posts. The movies I choose each month are films that I feel a personal connection with, to the story or characters. They’re usually films that, like this post, you may not have seen, classic’s you may have missed or maybe some I think are worth a second look. From “Classic Hollywood” black and white to the latest hits – Action/Adventure and Comedy to Coming of Age and Buddy Films.


About VocareMentor

Walk with the wise and become wise - Prov. 13:20 A lot of my blog comes out of the way I grew up. My parents divorced when I was 6 years old and I didn’t see much of my father. I had no understanding of how the lack of his presence in my life affected every choice I made as I grew up. Much of my adult life has been attempting to sort things out and catch up. Thus, what you’ll find on my blog are musings, thoughts, wisdom and ideas from history and pop culture. Themes: mentors, father/son, male/female, self-discovery, courage, stepping up, friendship and more.
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4 Responses to Movie: Halloween Film watching with a little Arsenic

  1. One of my favorite movies, too. Along with ‘Harvey.’ I must empathize with, or maybe identify with,eccentric characters.

  2. Nice review! Wasn’t imagining the humor aspect…makes me want to see it even more! Need to track it down 🙂

    • VocareMentor says:

      My wife and I saw a semiprofessional theater group put on the play several years back. I was hesitant because I loved the film so much. But it’s such great material that the film almost couldn’t miss. Plus Cary Grant is a favorite of mine from the Golden Age of Hollywood films.

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