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Penguin Pool Murder (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 9 December 1932 (USA)
Shady stockbroker and abusive husband Gerald Parker is found dead in the penguin pool of a NYC aquarium after being knocked cold by his wife's boyfriend.

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(screen play), (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Gwen Parker
Donald Cook ...
Philip Seymour
Edgar Kennedy ...
Donovan
Clarence Wilson ...
Bertrand B. Hemingway (as Clarence H. Wilson)
James Donlan ...
Fink
Gustav von Seyffertitz ...
Von Donnen (as Gustav Von Seyffertitz)
William Le Maire ...
MacDonald (as William LeMaire)
Joe Hermano ...
Chicago Lew
Guy Usher ...
Gerald Parker
...
Telephone Operator
Wilfrid North ...
Judge
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Storyline

The body of unscrupulous stockbroker Gerald Parker suddenly appears in the penguin tank at the aquarium. Naturally, suspicion falls on his wife and her boyfriend, who were present. Inspector Piper investigates with the unsolicited aid of teacher Hildegard Withers, a witness who's taken an interest in the case; Piper develops a grudging respect for Miss Withers' acumen (and sharp tongue), as they search among the red herrings for the aquarium killer... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Penguin Pool Murder  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The telephone operator (Rochelle Hudson) calls Hildegarde Withers (Edna May Oliver) "Lydia Pinkham." The reference is to the woman who brewed alcohol-based elixirs touted as a "women's tonic" said to relieve menstrual and menopausal pains. See more »

Goofs

The boom's shadow appears on a column behind Edna Mae Oliver when Miss Withers is looking through the aquarium at night. See more »

Quotes

Oscar Piper: [In the aquarium] What are you doin' hangin' around this fish house?
Barry Costello: Well, it's Friday, isn't it?
Oscar Piper: It isn't Friday for wisecracks!
See more »

Connections

Followed by Murder on the Blackboard (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Teacher, Teacher there's a man in the duck pool."
23 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Edna Mae Oliver and James Gleason were two of the best character actors in Hollywood in the "golden age" of film making. Oliver always had a precise, aristocratic hauteur (she was Lady Catherine De Burgh in the 1940 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), but it usually masked an intense intelligence (see how she tears apart Basil Rathbone's Murdstone in David COPPERFIELD), and a decent morality. Gleason is not a university or book based intelligent gent. But he is a street smart type, who knows precisely what's what. And in THE PENGUIN POOL MURDERS they joined together as Hildegarde Withers and Inspector Piper of the New York Police Department. And from rubbing each other the wrong way they become friends, allies in solving the case, and possibly more (the movie suggest at the end).

Hildegard is a schoolteacher, who takes her class (a remarkably mixed racial class for 1932) on a field trip to the New York Acquarium, then in lower Manhattan in what is still Castle Clinton National Monument (it was also, in the 1850s, Castle Gardens, where Jenny Lind sang to the public). The visit is interrupted when Isidore (the Jewish kid in the class) points out (as in the summary line) that there is a man inside what he calls the "duck" pool. Actually it is the tank for the penguins.

The film follows how Hildegard and Piper pursue their investigations into the murder and gradually find that helping each other makes more sense. The humor builds as both our intrepid detectives confront various types, like humorless, dyspeptic Clarence Wilson as the aquarium director, and relatively stupid policeman Edgar Kennedy to find out what is the truth. It all comes down to a courtroom showdown, where the killer trips himself up in an unexpected manner.

A first rate comedy and who-done-it, that led to MURDER AT THE BLACKBOARD and MURDER ON THE HONEYMOON before the two stars went their separate ways.


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