Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Arsenic and Old Lace

Frank Capra, 1944, bw (8.3*)
Pleasant trifle in which Cary Grant has a field day of double-takes and other physical humor as Mortimer Brewster, the doting nephew of two elderly aunts, the kind with whom you share tea, and discuss family history. Unfortunately, these aunts are not so kindly, as Mortimer begins to discover bodies hidden in furniture around the house, and at the same time there seem to be some missing elderly gents who were former friends.

Priscilla Lane is around for romantic interest and eye candy, or else it would be just Grant and two old ladies, plus you need an outside catalyst to drive the action, someone who could discover the family secret.

Adapted by the Epstein Brothers from a play by Joseph Kesselring. This is one of Capra’s best comedies, as it doesn’t try to do too much but entertain, one that takes homicidal insanity with a nonchalant attitude, as if bodies are empty liquor bottles, something to discard without the neighbors seeing - after all, it’s 1944 and the middle of mass psychosis.

This just recently fell out of the IMDB top 250.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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