I grew up watching quite a few black and white movies. I don’t remember when the “switch” occurred, what age I was at when I stopped assuming a movie would be “boring” if it didn’t contain any colors, but I know that there are several movies out there where I honestly can’t remember even now whether or not they are in color or black and white… the plot and the characters are that compelling.
Arsenic and Old Lace is one of those. (It is in black and white, I checked). It is also one of the few movies that makes me laugh so hard I cry every single time I watch it. I received a copy of this movie for Christmas from my husband’s family, and one evening I asked them to watch it with me. I’m pretty sure they spent most of the movie laughing more at ME and how hard I was laughing than at the movie itself… but at least a fun time was had by all. My 11-year old niece asked later in the week, “Can we watch the old funny movie with Aunt Jenelle again before they go home?” So, I consider my work there done… I have passed along at least a minor appreciation for this movie to the next generation.
Meet Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), a very jaded theater critic who doesn’t believe in love or “happily ever after”… but has just eloped with his childhood sweetheart, with whom he is madly in love. They stop by home on their way out of town to pack for their honeymoon and inform her father and his aunts that they are now married.
But imagine Mortimer’s horrified surprise when he discovers a dead body in his aunts’ window seat. Imagine his even greater horror when he discovers that his dear little old aunts have been intentionally poisoning lonesome old men who come to their house looking for a room to rent. While trying to keep Elaine (Priscilla Lane) from finding out what is going on, Mortimer now shoulders the task of figuring out how to resolve this issue without allowing his aunts to either go to prison or harm anyone else!
The plot gets even more twisted when sinister Jonathan, Mortimer’s cousin who was raised along with Mortimer by their aunts, suddenly returns home after many long years…
And it all takes place on Halloween.
One of the best comedies of all time, everything about this movie is sure to have you in stitches… which is a bit of a pun, but you’ll have to watch the movie to find out why! The humor ranges from laugh-out-loud funny, to slapstick, to dark/slightly morbid… so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. If you enjoy classics like To Kill a Mockingbird, It’s a Wonderful Life, or Abbott and Costello, you’re sure to enjoy this one!
Arsenic and Old Lace is available to rent at Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.
But, I happen to have an extra copy! So, this week, I’m going to give away a copy of this movie to one of YOU. Just leave a comment on this blog post to be entered into the drawing. I will pick a name next Friday (Sept. 8).