Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lost Stream Gem: "Arsenic And Old Lace" (1944)

"I'd like to lick the coil some day...
Like Icarus, who had to pay
with melting wax and feathers brown.
He tasted it on his way down."
-- Phish --

This surprisingly twisted film, directed by legendary Frank Capra...rolls comedy, horror, romance, and drama into one long, smooth and satisfying smoke.

"Arsenic And Old Lace" (1944) is a whacked-out tale revolving around a hyperactive longtime bachelor...Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) who finally takes the marital plunge and returns to his hometown to announce the good news to his two favorite aunts who are now running a boardinghouse for elderly men.
Crazy Aunts - Jean Adair & Josephine Hull
These delightful old sisters are perfect as the sweetly naive and macabre spinsters who share a very strange secret.
Mortimer, of course, accidentally stumbles upon his aunts..."charitable activities"...and quickly realizes his favorite relatives have been loitering just a little too close to Insanity Avenue.
Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant)
Without giving too much away, “Arsenic and Old Lace” changes gears midway...and surprisingly so...taking a lighthearted tongue-in-cheek story into a direction much more dangerous and creepy, thanks to the menacing performances of baleful step-brother Jonathon (Raymond Massey) and his bug-eyed sidekick, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre).
Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre)
Lines are delivered at a breakneck pace at times...especially Grant's running subtitles is recommended. Else your likely to miss some pretty clever convo betwixt the actors.
And although this film is stagy at times...and debatably cries out for a little editing in places ...there is enough quirky interplay amongst the actors to provide some scrumptious "corn on the macabre" entertainment.
A little known bit of trivia...Cary Grant donated his entire salary from the film, $100,000, to the U.S. War Relief Fund.
Must See Moment:
Watch Peter Lorre strike a match and then forget to blow it out before (really) burning his fingers. Twice.
Also, “Horse Face” Raymond Massey’s expression when anyone tells him he looks like Boris Karloff is not to be missed.

"The Squirming Coil"  -  Phish (Lawn Boy/1990)

The squirming coil of sunset
I keep within my reach
Tried yesterday to get away
and hitchhiked to the beach
I saw Satan on the beach
trying to catch a ray
He wasn't quite the speed of light
and the squirming coil
it got away....
The muscles flex the mother's ring
She fastens children to her king
and sends him down the crooked street
When he returns, the birth's complete
Jimmy holds the Tannis root
The forest's tasty nectar shoot
The sun tips off the monarch's suit
from sequined sash to shiny boot
I'd like to lick the coil some day
Like Icarus, who had to pay
with melting wax and feathers brown
He tasted it on his way down.
Stun the puppy!
Burn the whale!
Bark a scruff and go to jail!
Forge the coin and lick the stamp!
Little Jimmy's off to camp.

Good stuff!

Casey Chambers
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CTV said...
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Casey said...
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