Trivia / Arsenic and Old Lace

  • Actor Allusion:
    • The comments about Jonathan looking like Boris Karloff in the play—Boris Karloff originated the role on the stage. In fact, the only reason Karloff didn't play the role in the film was that he couldn't get out of his contract playing that role in the Broadway production. The producers of the play were worried ticket sales would drop if they lost their big-name star, even for a short time.
    • In the movie, Mortimer leans against a tombstone with the name "Archibald Leach" (Cary Grant's real name).
    • The casting of Peter Lorre as a crazed German surgeon may be a callback to Mad Love.
  • AFI's 100 Years… 100 Laughs: #30
  • Money, Dear Boy: InvertedCary Grant was so dissatisfied with his performance in this movie that he donated his entire salary from it to charity rather than profit from it at all. This was not the first time, either — in 1940, he donated his entire salary from The Philadelphia Story to the British war effort. For this film he donated it to the American effort.
  • Playing Against Type: Cary Grant, who usually plays suave and sophisticated characters, in the movie plays a character who starts out like that, but becomes increasingly panicked and flustered as the story goes on.
  • What Could Have Been: Frank Capra originally wanted Bob Hope to play Mortimer in the film, but Hope was under contract with Paramount, who refused to loan him out. Jack Benny and Ronald Reagan were also considered for the role before they settled on Grant.
    • Also Boris Karloff couldn't reprise his role in the film because he was still under contract to perform in the original play.