Arsenic and Old Lace

"That man’s an imposter, and if he came here to be buried in our cellar, he’s mistaken!”

Cary Grant was cast and ready to play the lead in the film adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner, but people were so upset that Monty Wooley wouldn’t be continuing the part he had created that the studio ousted Grant for Wooley. That left a hole in Grant’s schedule. He knew Frank Capra was busy casting for his new film, an adaptation of the Broadway hit Arsenic and Old Lace, and he knew that Ronald Reagan and Jack Benny had both turned the lead role down, so he told Capra he was interested and available. Capra was thrilled, and they set to work. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our Cary Grant series with his Capra 1944 comedy, Arsenic and Old Lace.

We talk about Grant and why at times, his big, over-the-top performance may be a bit too much (it was even too much for the actor who hated his own performance here). We look at the rest of the cast, both those who came over from the stage show and those cast in Hollywood, and chat about what they bring to the film. We look at why Capra jumped into this film and why it took so long to make it to the big screen. And we chat about Sol Polito’s cinematography and Max Steiner’s music, and why they both work well in context of the film.

It’s a fun and funny film that is a broad type of comedy that definitely works more for some than others. We have a great time talking about it on the show this week, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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