Discs Are Rated
Arsenic and Old Lace
review by Zach B.
Studio: Warner Bros.
Starring Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Josephine Hull,
Jean Adair, Raymond Massey, John Alexander, Edward Everett
Horton, James Gleason
Running Time: 118 Minutes
Written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein
Adapted from the stage play by Joseph Kesselring
Directed by Frank Capra
Retail Price: 24.99
Features: Production Notes
Specs: 1.37:1 Standard, Dolby Digital Mono English,
English Captions, French Captions, Chapter Search (37
Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) is an outspoken drama
critic who's getting hitched to the beautiful Elaine
(Priscilla Lane). Mortimer is a pretty private person, and
due to his negative writings on matrimony, getting a
marriage license is not easy, and he tries to do it in a
quiet manner. Still, with the press looking on, it's not
good. But the two eventually get married, and we learn a
little about Brewster's crazy family. One of his brothers
thinks he is Teddy Roosevelet and the other is sociopath. He
also has two aunts, who are actually serial killers who
specialize in destroying lonely old men. Mortimer learns
this, and things get a lot worse.
I won't divulge anymore into the plot because I don't
want to give anything a way, but if you have never heard of
this movie, it actually is a comedy, and considered a
classic. The film is based on a broadway play by Joseph
Kesselring, and this film adaptation still holds up well
after over 50 years. It's an excellent farce which stands
really well. It's funny and really entertaining.
The movie was directed by Frank Capra, who among other
movies, is probably best known for the Holiday classic "It's
A Wonderful Life". His direction here is really good, and
brings a good style to the movie. The script, adapted by
Julius and Philip Epstein, is really well done. It brings a
really nice tone and has captured a good essence for the
story and setting, as well as characters.
Still, what I probably like best about the film is the
acting. Everyone shines in their respected roles. Josephine
Hull and Jean Adair make great, scheming aunts and John
Alexander is a scream as the brother who thinks he is Teddy
Roosevelt. But the crown jewel is Cary Grant, who brings
this role to life and makes it very believable. It's a joy
to watch Grant, his acting skills are really good.
If you have never seen this farce, it's a very good
watch. I know some might turn it away automatically due to
how old it is, but please don't. You may be pleasantly
I didn't know what to expect due to how old the movie is,
but Warner has done a fantastic job of cleaning it up. Yes,
artifacts and dirt are pretty abundant, and there is some
slight shimmer. Other than that it looks really clear and
nice. The film is presented in full frame, about 1.37:1, the
original way it was presented in theaters.
The original mono track is included, and it does sound
really nice. There is some slight hiss, but you probably
won't notice it. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear, and
nothing sounds enhanced or anything, it basically sounds
restored, not old or anything. A very nice job here.
Warner has included some short production notes for your
viewing. It basically tells about Capra wanting to do the
movie for the screen and when and how much it was made for.
Not as extensive as most Warner production notes are, but it
is good for a little background.
An excellent movie now graces the DVD format, with nice
video and audio, but a lack of supplements. If you enjoyed
this classic, pick it up for your collection.
(4/5, NOT included in
NOT an average)