Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Arsenic and Old Lace" - a Robert Steven Mack's Movie Review of the Week

At the height of his career, screen legend Cary Grant paired up with legendary director Frank Capra for his next project that would be filmed in eight weeks, cost about 1.2 million to produce, and he would be accompanied by great performers such as Jack Carson, Priscilla Lane, Jean Adair, Josephine Hull, James Gleason, Edward Mcnamara, John Alexander Raymond Massey,Peter Lorre, and Edward Ervet Horton.

"Arsenic and Old Lace", based on a broadway hit by Joseph Kesselrings, is one of those mad-cap farces that really does not fit a distinct genre. Is it a grim horror story or an elevating gangster film? Or maybe its just really a crazy and wacky comedy. You don't know quite what to make of this film when you first start watching it, but still it will grow on you! And Mr. Grant, perhaps in one of his wackiest performances that almost tops his "Bringing Up Baby", plays Mortimor, a humble mariagge-hater and theater critic who visits his eccentric aunts (and his brother who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt) to tell them that he got married, only to find that the've turned their fine Victorian home into a ''Little Shop of Horrors".

Although the film has gained some recognition in the few past years, it is a product of its time and therefore cannot be considered a classic. Also, the film bears a striking resemblence to the low budget 1960 black comedy (later a broadway hit) "Little Shop of Horrors." You can also catch Carry Grant consistently trying to make himself look smaller; this may have been somthing more to tear himself away from his suave debonair image. Despite being something of a black comedy, its really a lot of fun to watch as one of Mortimer's brothers goes to jail, the other goes to the funny farm, a stage-stuck police officer and playright will have a word with the chef, and poor Mortimer who just may be going to the nut house himself, will do anything he can to make sure they don't find what's down in the basement!

Packed with fun and suspense (but more fun), this is a symbolic wacko-masterpiece no collector could resist!

Copyright 2010 by Robert Steven Mack

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