Happy Halloween! Let’s watch Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Let’s celebrate Halloween and wrap up 2020’s Horror Movie week of 1930s and 1940s films with a mildly spooky, classic comedy. It takes place on Halloween so I thought this was the perfect choice for today.

Like many movies of its time, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) was a popular Broadway play before it was made into a comedy.  The New York Times called it “good, macabre fun.”

Starring Cary Grant and Peter Lorre, the movie also featured actors from the Broadway production in the most memorable roles, including Josephine Hull and Jean Adair (the Brewster sisters) and John Alexander (Teddy Brewster). Frank Capra (It’s a Wonderful Life) directed the movie.

I read that after U.S. service men watched this while stationed, they used to yell “Charge!” like Teddy did — and it took a while for the commanders to figure out that they were mimicking the movie! That’s kind of funny 🙂

I don’t want to give too much away, but one of my favorite scenes occurs in the very beginning when the Brewster sisters hand out Halloween goodies to trick-or-treaters, including ENTIRE PIES! Did they really give away whole pies in those days? Lucky kids!

I was in this play when I was a young woman. I played the female lead of Elaine Harper. That’s me in the photo. I had to scream and get tossed around by the villain and kiss the star! It was a lot of fun.

The movie is available to rent online on YouTube. The preview below links to the video. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you have a very Happy Halloween.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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