Monday, October 23, 2017

Screening of "Arsenic and Old Lace" October 28 at the Daystar Center

“Halloween” Series: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Where: Daystar Center, 1550 S. State Street
When: October 28, 2017
Time: 6:45 p.m.
Hosted by Stephen Reginald

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) is the screen adaptation of the dark comedy play written by Joseph Kesselring. Director Frank Capra filmed the movie in 1941, but the film’s release was delayed until the play finished its Broadway run. The role of Mortimer Brewster was offered to Bob Hope, but his home studio (Paramount) wouldn’t release him from his contract. When Cary Grant accepted the role, it was off to the races.

Cary Grant and Priscilla Lane on the Warner Bros. lot
Mortimer Brewster is a critic and writer who has written books about marriage being old-fashioned and based on superstition. In spite of these “beliefs,” Mortimer marries Elaine Harper (Priscilla Lane), his childhood sweetheart, who lived next door to him in Brooklyn, on Halloween. After the wedding, Mortimer visits his old family home occupied by his two elderly aunts Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha (Jean Adair) and his brother Teddy (John Alexander) who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. When Mortimer finds a corpse in a window seat, he discovers that his kindly aunts are killing old bachelors that they presume are suffering and lonely. To complicate things further, the home is visited by Mortimer’s older brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey), a murderer looking for a place to hide the body of his latest victim.

Josephine Hull, Jean Adair and John Alexander recreated their Broadway roles, getting an eight-week leave of absence while the stage production was still running. Capra keeps the action moving at a brisk, hilarious pace that never lets up. The movie is filled with familiar character actors, including Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, James Gleason, and Peter Lorre.

Arsenic and Old Lace is listed at number 30 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Laughs list, making it one of the funniest movies in American cinema.


Have some Joe and Enjoy the Show!
You can bring food and beverages into the auditorium; we even have small tables set up next to some of the seats. General Admission: $5 Students and Senior Citizens: $3.

Join the Chicago Film club; join the discussion
Twice a month we screen classic films and have a brief discussion afterward. For more information, including how to join (it’s free), click here. The Venue 1550 is easily accessible by the CTA. Please visit Transit Chicago for more information on transportation options.

Stephen Reginald is a freelance writer and editor. He has worked at various positions within the publishing industry for over 25 years. Most recently he was executive editor for McGraw-Hill’s The Learning Group Division. A long-time amateur student of film, Reginald hosts “Chicago Film Club,” a monthly movie event held in the South Loop, for the past two years. Reginald has also taught several adult education film classes at Facets Film School, Chicago.

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