History Theatre / ArsenicAndOldLace

26th Jun '17 2:11:39 PM Fighteer
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* PublicDomainSoundtrack: The aunts' {{Leitmotif}}, used extensively in the Music/MaxSteiner score, is "Happy Land," an 1850 hymn with words by Andrew Young and music arranged by Leonard T. Breedlove. (At least it wasn't ''AmazingFreakingGrace''.)

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* PublicDomainSoundtrack: The aunts' {{Leitmotif}}, used extensively in the Music/MaxSteiner score, is "Happy Land," an 1850 hymn with words by Andrew Young and music arranged by Leonard T. Breedlove. (At least it wasn't ''AmazingFreakingGrace''.)



* SarcasticConfession:

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* SarcasticConfession:SarcasticConfession: Faced with his aunts innocently confessing to their murders right in front of the police captain, Mortimer desperately attempts to paint their claim as proof of their own insanity by confessing to "his own murders".



* ShutUpKiss: Three times in a row! Some women just won't stop talking!

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* ShutUpKiss: Three times Just when things are about to get resolved, Elaine comes running up the stairs, having snuck in a row! Some women just won't stop talking!through the cellar to confront Mortimer, screaming about how there really are bodies buried down there. To keep everything from being ruined, he smothers her with kisses until she's so relieved that he's paying attention to her again that she forgets about the murders.
26th Jun '17 2:06:37 PM Fighteer
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* ProperlyParanoid: Mortimer. Just not quite paranoid enough.
26th Jun '17 2:05:26 PM Fighteer
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* InTheBlood: The hereditary madness of the Brewster family.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Dr. Einstein. He's so pathetic that by the end [[KarmaHoudini nobody seems to mind him escaping]].
* InsaneTrollLogic: Mortimer pulls this when trying to get Teddy to sign the papers to commit himself and his aunts to Happy Dale.

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* InTheBlood: The Brewster family seems to be subject to hereditary madness of madness. Aside from the Brewster family.
characters in the story, dialog reveals that their father had delusions as well. We never find out anything about Mortimer's direct parents, until the ending reveal that he's adopted.
* IneffectualSympatheticVillain: Dr. Einstein. He's Einstein doesn't seem to have overtly evil intentions; rather, his alcoholism and lack of self-esteem have led him to become entangled in Jonathan's murder spree. It's never clear what he's wanted for besides being an accomplice, and he's so pathetic that by the end [[KarmaHoudini nobody seems to mind him escaping]].
* InsaneTrollLogic: Mortimer pulls this off a clever bit of verbal chicanery when trying to get Teddy to sign the papers to commit himself and his aunts to Happy Dale.Happydale.



** The confused police inspector then remarks, "Do that again!"
* InsanityDefense: Used preemptively; Mortimer hopes that by getting his aunts committed to Happydale, they won't be sent to prison for murder if/when their crimes are eventually discovered.
* InsistentTerminology: Toward the end Witherspoon shows up and asks the disgruntled cab driver to drive him and Teddy back to Happy Dale:

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** The confused police inspector then remarks, "Do --> '''Police inspector:''' [confused] Do that again!"
again!
* InsanityDefense: Used preemptively; Mortimer hopes that that, by getting Teddy and his aunts committed to Happydale, they won't be sent to prison for murder if/when their crimes are eventually discovered.
* InsistentTerminology: Toward the end Witherspoon shows up and asks the disgruntled cab driver to drive him and Teddy back to Happy Dale:Happydale:



* ItWasHereISwear: A RunningGag with the body in the window seat.
* KarmaHoudini: Dr. Einstein sneaks out the door while the police are busy with Jonathan and the family is busy committing the Aunts. Or, at least, he tries to until Mortimer notices him. He asks Dr. Einstein to sign the committal papers for him, after which the good doctor leaves without further incident.
** In addition, the two aunts, who at the end of the play are all committed to Happy Dale, a fairly comfortable sanitarium, as opposed to being arrested or committed to a hospital for the criminally insane. The end of the play which is not shown in the film, however, shows that the aunts go back to their old habits with the warden which leaves open the possibility that they will be revealed.
* KnightOfCerebus: Jonathan's appearance in the story, makes it a take a turn to nightmareville, as he is both insanely cruel and sadistic and makes the viewers take him seriously, unlike the cute and naively murderous aunts.
* LampshadeHanging: A classic example. Mortimer, a theatre critic, complains about a character in a play being handed the IdiotBall, not realizing that he's describing himself.

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* ItWasHereISwear: A RunningGag with the body in the window seat.
seat, which Mortimer discovers early in the play, is missing when he goes to check on it later (because Teddy has taken it for burial), and then becomes an entirely different body after Jonathan deposits his own latest victim there.
* KarmaHoudini: KarmaHoudini:
**
Dr. Einstein sneaks out the door while the police are busy with Jonathan and the family is busy committing the Aunts. Or, at least, he tries to until Mortimer notices him. He asks Dr. Einstein to sign the committal papers for him, after which the good doctor leaves without further incident.
** In addition, the The two aunts, who at the end of the play are all committed to Happy Dale, Happydale, a fairly comfortable sanitarium, as opposed to being arrested or committed to a hospital for the criminally insane. The end of the play play, which is not shown in the film, however, shows that the aunts go back to their old habits with the warden which leaves open the possibility that they will be revealed.
* KnightOfCerebus: Jonathan's appearance in the story, story makes it a take a turn to nightmareville, as he is both insanely cruel and sadistic and makes the viewers take him seriously, unlike the cute and naively murderous aunts.
* LampshadeHanging: A classic example. Mortimer, a theatre critic, complains about a character in a play being handed the IdiotBall, not realizing that he's describing himself.



* MediumAwareness: Teddy, in some productions.

to:

* %%* MediumAwareness: Teddy, in some productions.



* MurderIsTheBestSolution: And it leaves them looking so "peaceful".
* NapoleonDelusion: Teddy thinks he's UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt. And the stairs are San Juan Hill. [[RunningGag CHAAAARGE!... *ding*]]. In the film adaptation, Dr. Witherspoon asks Mortimer if he could persuade Teddy to think he's Napoleon, as they already have quite a few Theodore Roosevelts at Happy Dale and another one would mean trouble amongst the patients.

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* MurderIsTheBestSolution: And Abbey and Martha's psychopathic break came when a house guest died of a heart attack at their table. They decided that it leaves them left him looking so "peaceful".
"peaceful" that they had to help other lonely men find the same respite.
* NapoleonDelusion: Teddy thinks he's UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt. And the stairs are San Juan Hill. [[RunningGag CHAAAARGE!... *ding*]]. In the film adaptation, Dr. Witherspoon asks Mortimer if he could persuade Teddy to think he's Napoleon, as they already have quite a few Theodore Roosevelts at Happy Dale Happydale and another one would mean trouble amongst the patients.



* NotMyLuckyDay: For Mortimer, and it just keeps getting worse.

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* NotMyLuckyDay: For Mortimer, Mortimer gets married, which should be the happiest day of his life. Then he discovers that his aunts are serial killers and it things just keeps getting worse.get worse from there.
26th Jun '17 1:54:53 PM Fighteer
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* InsaneEqualsViolent: Played straight with Abby, Martha and Jonathan. Averted with Teddy, who unwittingly abets the murders but is otherwise harmless.
26th Jun '17 1:53:23 PM Fighteer
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* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Jonathan and Mortimer bluffing each other to leave.

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* IKnowYouKnowIKnow: Jonathan and Mortimer bluffing engage in a battle of wits over which one will leave the home, based on what each thinks the other knows about all the murders. Jonathan gains the upper hand by threatening to leave.expose Mortimer's aunts.



--> '''Mortimer:''' No, I am ''not'' drunk, madam, but you've given me an idea!

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--> ** As Mortimer gets off the phone after a loud, aggravating conversation with the operator, he exclaims in exasperation.
--->
'''Mortimer:''' No, I am ''not'' drunk, madam, but you've given me an idea!
26th Jun '17 1:50:40 PM Fighteer
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* HappilyAdopted: As much as he loves (most of) the Brewsters, it still comes as a great relief to Mortimer to find out he isn't a blood relative.
26th Jun '17 1:47:43 PM Fighteer
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* EvenEvilHasStandards: Aunt Abby readily admits to poisoning 12 men, but is outraged at Mortimer's suggestion that she would "stoop to telling a fib."

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* EvenEvilHasStandards: EvenEvilHasStandards:
**
Aunt Abby readily admits to poisoning 12 men, but is outraged at Mortimer's suggestion that she would "stoop to telling a fib."



** A RunningGag with the [[PoliceAreUseless policemen]] who visit the house.

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** A RunningGag with the [[PoliceAreUseless policemen]] who visit the house. house, each time missing blatantly obvious signs that something is very, very wrong.
26th Jun '17 1:46:11 PM Fighteer
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** Barely averted for Mortimer; see GenreBlindness.

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** Barely averted Mortimer spends a lengthy monologue mocking the foolishness of the protagonist in a play he reviewed, who [[GenreBlindness relaxed his guard in a house with a murderer]]. Fortunately for Mortimer; see GenreBlindness.Mortimer, he just barely escapes death for his own stupidity.
26th Jun '17 1:43:57 PM Fighteer
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* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Quoth Dr. Einstein: "No, no, Johnny, not the Melbourne method! It takes too long... and it's so messy!"

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* %%* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: Quoth Dr. Einstein: "No, no, Johnny, not the Melbourne method! It takes too long... and it's so messy!"
26th Jun '17 1:39:45 PM Fighteer
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* BerserkButton: Saying Jonathan looks like Creator/BorisKarloff will get you strangled at best, and slowly tortured to death for hours at worst.

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* BerserkButton: Saying Jonathan looks like Creator/BorisKarloff will get you strangled at best, and slowly tortured to death for hours at worst. Productions of the original play change this around depending on the actor playing Jonathan.
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