Hildegarde Withers Mystery Collection
Stuart Palmer's immortal crime-solving school teacher Hildegarde Withers came to the screen courtesy of a series of mysteries from RKO Pictures.
For those of you not familiar with the great Hildegarde Withers, she was a wise-cracking schoolmarm who aided the local New York police chief, Inspector Piper, in baffling mysteries. Withers was the creation of mystery writer Stuart Palmer, and she first graced the pages of a novel in the exciting "Penguin Pool Murder" written in 1931. Palmer followed it with 13 other Withers novels including numerous short stories of "riddles" she solved.

In 1932, the wonderful Edna May Oliver starred in the film adaption of The Penguin Pool Murder with James Gleason as Inspector Piper and co-starring Robert Armstrong and Mae Clarke. The film was so successful it spawned two sequels with Edna May Oliver, and then Helen Broderick took over the role as Miss Withers in Murder on a Bridal Path but only stayed for one outing. Zasu Pitts became the spinster sleuth in the final two films.

2 x DVD9 | NTSC 4:3 | 407 minutes | 7.50 Gb + 7.63 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: none
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance

Penguin Pool Murder (1932) - A school field trip, lost hat pin, a love triangle, a sad aquarium and a curious penguin. The story starts off with a fairly straightforward scenario: an unhappily married woman and her lover encounter her husband at an aquarium and the husband is killed. But the situation proves to be a lot more complicated than we originally thought. Visiting school teacher Hildegarde Withers (Edna May Oliver) assists Inspector Oscar Piper (James Gleason) in the investigation, much to his initial dismay.

Murder on the Blackboard (1934) - A murdered teacher, a secret stash of liquor, an Irish lottery, and musical notes. Withers calls upon Piper when a music teacher is murdered at her school. This film is probably the most frightening of all three and squeamish viewers should be glad that this is the 1930s and you won't find the gore that a modern day forensics drama would gleefully dish out. By the second film Withers and Piper are a crime-fighting team and Piper, while still critical of Withers, relies on her more as a detective and continues to do so in the following films.

Murder on a Honeymoon (1935) - A seaplane, poison cigarettes, a movie producer, mistaken identity and a curious dog. Miss Withers goes on vacation to the Catalina Islands but she can't seem to escape murders. The seem to follow her everywhere! A man is poisoned on the plane and everyone on board is a suspect. Because the person killed is tied into a trial in Inspector Piper's jurisdiction, he travels to Catalina and Withers and Piper join forces to solve the mystery.

Murder on the Bridle Path (1936) - Horses, a recently released convict, a sickly man, a betrayal and revenge. Helen Broderick plays a sophisticated and well-dressed version of Withers.

The Plot Thickens (1936) - A museum, an astrology obsessed cop, upstairs/downstairs conflict and a stolen antique cup. This complicated and convoluted plot that starts off with a man murdered because he was mistaken for someone else and an antique cup from an art museum is stolen. Both Withers and Pipers try to solve both mysteries simultaneously. Zasu Pitts plays a clumsier and more aloof Hildegarde Withers.

Forty Naughty Girls (1937) - A plagiarist, a musical, a director with a roving eye and a bait-and-switch. Hildegarde Withers and Oscar Piper are on a date! All fancied up, in clothes that really don't suit them, Withers and Piper head to the theater to see the Forty Naughty Girls musical on stage. They are not in their seats long before they are both called to investigate a murder backstage.

There is noticeable romantic tension between Withers and Piper. Piper proposes at the end of the first two films and they are on a date in the last film. They never consummate their relationship so while they act like a married couple, the tension between this spinster and confirmed bachelor elevates the comedy.

Download Hildegarde Withers Mystery Collection: The Penquin Pool Murder (1932), Murder on the Blackboard (1934), Murder on a Honeymoon (1935), Murder on a Bridle Path (1936), The Plot Thickens (1936), Forty Naughty Girls (1937) 2 x DVD9:



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