Arsenic and Old Lace
Carrying on with Mother's Month, she has recommended one from acclaimed 'It's a Wonderful Life' director, Frank Capra. This one ends up being much more of a dark comedy, though, and probably about the furthest back the idea of dark comedy goes. The concept is dated as being some time in the 60s, but this is a 1944 movie, which leads me to believe this kind of movie was very rare back then.
We meet a couple of newly weds - a drama critic who has written several books on the idea of marriage being a bad thing, Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), and his childhood girl-next-door love interest, Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane). The couple head back to their hometown of Brooklyn, where Elaine heads to her father's house to pack for the honeymoon. In the meantime, Mortimer drops in on his two aunts, Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair), along with his brother, Teddy (John Alexander) who is convinced he's Theodore Roosevelt. The visit begins innocently enough, but soon enough Mortimer discovers a dead body in the window seat, soon discovering that his aunts are murderers who believe they are doing a service for lonely old bachelors.
To make things even more complicated, Mortimer's brother, Jonathan (Raymond Massey) drops in with his accomplice, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre). A killer on the run, he's looking for a place to lay low, and needless to say, it's just one of those disaster after disaster piling up kind of movies where the humor is well in the forefront of an otherwise dire situation.
I think what's to be admired the most about this movie is everyone's performance. Grant is hilarious, being the innocent victim of his surroundings, Hull and Adair are very convincing as sweet little old ladies who believe they are doing some good in the world, Massey is really quite comically intense, and Lorre... well, he's Lorre. For those unfamiliar, he was one of the more typically parodied classic actors, often portrayed in Warner Bros. cartoons, or here, as Boo Berry.
When all said and done, it's still not quite as dark as some of the stuff we have around today, but for 1944 I'd have to say that's pretty understandable. It certainly still has its moments, but it's mostly a light comedy for a dark comedy, if that makes any sense. It's one I'd recommend for someone looking for something classic, funny, but somewhat morbid all at once. I had fun with it.
9/21/2018 08:42:06 pm
A film needs a capable and creative director for the movie to work. Actually, movie is a combined effort from all the people who are involved in the production. From the staff up to the actors, everyone should be creatively involved with the process of making a film because that will make the project even more appealing. That's the reason why Frank Capra is one of the finest directors of his generations; he is after the good result of their project!
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