6.1/10
234
14 user 5 critic

The Nitwits (1935)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 7 June 1935 (USA)
A would-be songwriter and a would-be inventor run a cigar stand and get mixed up in the murder of a song publisher.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Robert Woolsey ...
Newton
...
William Darrell
...
...
Alice Lake
Erik Rhodes ...
George Clark
Hale Hamilton ...
Winfield Lake
...
Police Captain Jennings (as Charles Wilson)
...
Lurch
Willie Best ...
Sleepy
Lew Kelly ...
J. Gabriel Hazel
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Storyline

Johnnie is a would-be songwriter; Newton is a would-be inventor. Both work at a cigar stand in the lobby of an office building. Johnnie wants to sell a song to Winfield Lake, a song publisher and the owner of the building. Lake's secretary, Mary, is Johnnie's sweetheart. When Lake turns up dead, circumstances conspire to make Mary and Newton think that Johnnie is the killer. They conspire again to implicate Mary, who goes to jail. But who really shot Lake? Who is the Black Widow, the blackmailer who had threatened him? The other characters in this wacky murder mystery are: Lake's suspicious wife, a self-satisfied private detective, a seemingly slow-witted janitor, Lake's auditor, a songwriter who thinks Lake is stealing from him and another who thinks everyone is stealing from him. It's up to Newton and his truth machine to reveal the real killer. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 June 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La viuda negra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie and eight others released in a DVD collection entitled "Wheeler & Woolsey: RKO Comedy Classics Collection in March 2013 by Warner Archive. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Male Singer: [singing] I'm not the same at all, / And I can blame it all; / I thought that love was a lark. / There's something strange in me, / The sudden change in me; / I walk around in the dark. / Suddenly I found a star. / You've opened my eyes. / You made me see the light, / The beauty of the night. / You've opened my eyes. / You taught me to see / The sunny side of things. / The heart within me sings. / You brought this to me.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on a player-piano music roll, which ends with the screen filling with black music notes. See more »

Connections

References High Gear (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Music in My Heart
(1935)
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Sung and Danced by Bert Wheeler (uncredited) and Betty Grable (uncredited)
Later reprized by Bert Wheeler (uncredited), Robert Woolsey (uncredited),
Betty Grable (uncredited), and the jail prisoners
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User Reviews

 
Other than they forgot to make it funny and its racist stereotypes, a reasonably agreeable time-passer!
4 September 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

Murders start occurring at a music publisher's and for no apparent reason, Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey are in the middle of it. Can these two idiots manage to solve the murder and save the day--or will they be The Black Widow's next victims?!

This Wheeler and Woolsey film is a bit different for them, as normally Wheeler's girlfriend in his films is played by Dorothy Lee. Aside from appearing in their films, Ms. Lee had a very limited career--but the same cannot be said of Wheeler's love interest in "The Nitwits". Here, his lady friend, Mary, is played by a very young Betty Grable--well before she became a national sensation.

Unfortunately, the rest of the film is NOT different from most of the films made by this comedy team. Like most, it lacked comedy--yet, inexplicably, the pair were very popular during the 1930s. Why, I haven't the foggiest, as the film has barely a laugh in it. However, despite not being funny, the rest of the film is a typical sort of comedy-murder mystery...with one exception. Throughout the movie, the filmmakers tried to elicit cheap laughs playing on racist stereotypes. Most of the black men in the film spent their time shooting dice and being VERY afraid of a guy dressed up like a skeleton--two annoying and dumb clichés of the era. Today, this sort of thing makes folks cringe-- back then it was a laugh riot.

Overall, if you compare this to a comedy like Abbott and Costello's "Hold That Ghost" or Bob Hope's "Ghostbreakers", it comes up very, very short indeed. You could certainly do better with your time.


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