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Murder on the Blackboard (1934)

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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 383 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 3 critic

A pretty young music teacher is bludgeoned to death in Hildegarde's school, where she's reunited with Oscar, but the autopsy report says she was dying from poison too.



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Complete credited cast:
Addison 'Ad' Stevens
Gertrude Michael ...
Jane Davis
Detective Smiley North
Edgar Kennedy ...
Detective Donahue
Mr. MacFarland
Jackie Searl ...
Leland Stanford Jones
Frederick Vogeding ...
Otto Schweitzer, the Janitor (as Fredrik Vogeding)
Barbara Fritchie ...
Louise Halloran
Gustav von Seyffertitz ...
Dr. Max Von Immen
Tom Herbert ...
Detective McTeague
Jed Prouty ...
Dr. Levine


There are plenty of guilty secrets at the school where Hildegarde Withers teaches. When she finds the body of the pretty music teacher, she calls in her old friend Inspector Piper, who promptly arrests the obvious suspect. Clues multiply and everyone looks suspicious as Piper and Miss Withers continue their battle of the sexes. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

15 June 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Det mystiske Tegn  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Edgar Kennedy returns as the slow-thinking Donovan although he seems to have been promoted to Detective Sergeant. In both films he is knocked unconscious. In "The Penguin Pool Murders" in a bathroom and here in a cellar. Kennedy's iconic bald pate is visible although in the first film his head was shaved. See more »


Two wide-mouthed bottles appear out of nowhere on Miss Halloran's desk as Miss Withers searches it. See more »


[last lines]
Oscar Piper: ...A fella could come up and see ya some time couldn't he?
Hildegarde Withers: Why, Oscar Piper!
[Oscar laughs]
Hildegarde Withers: Why, you dreadful man! You get out of here. Go on, get out!
[He leaves the diner, laughing heartily, as Hildegarde smoothes her ruffled feathers]
Hildegarde Withers: Insulted at my age!
Bearded Diner: Better late than never, sister.
Hildegarde Withers: [haughtily] That will do.
See more »


Followed by The Plot Thickens (1936) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor (1894)
Played after the credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Murder On A Budget
5 September 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Murder on the Blackboard is the second of three Hildegarde Withers stories that Edna May Oliver and James Gleason were teamed for. Today the charm of these two people, two of the best character actors that movies ever saw carry this rather dated and melodramatic story.

One of the teachers at Edna's school, Barbara Fritchie, winds up very dead and she's quite the lively corpse as the perpetrator keeps moving the body in an effort to be rid of it. In fact the only way the crime is discovered is because that day Edna kept young Jackie Searle after school.

Unlike the Thin Man movies where you could have as many as ten suspects or more in a room as Nick and Nora reveal all, this is not MGM with their lavish productions. This is RKO and this studio had a limited budget for their films. We only have four suspects so your chances of guessing who did it increase quite a bit.

Edgar Kennedy as the dumb cop who gets clunked on the head and develops amnesia is his usual funny self. In fact he's the foil used to catch the murderer in the end. As for the end, I found it a bit melodramatic for my taste and let it go at that.

But for fans of the wonderful Edna May Oliver and the dependable James Gleason this film is a must.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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