The Nitwits (1935)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  7 June 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 221 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 5 critic

A would-be songwriter and a would-be inventor run a cigar stand and get mixed up in the murder of a song publisher.



(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Bert Wheeler ...
Robert Woolsey ...
Fred Keating ...
William Darrell
Alice Lake
Erik Rhodes ...
George Clark
Hale Hamilton ...
Winfield Lake
Charles C. Wilson ...
Police Captain Jennings (as Charles Wilson)
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Willie Best ...
Lew Kelly ...
J. Gabriel Hazel


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


Comedy | Crime | Mystery






Release Date:

7 June 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La viuda negra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


[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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References High Gear (1931) See more »


You Opened My Eyes
Lyrics by L. Wolfe Gilbert
Music by Felix Bernard
Sung by Joey Ray (uncredited), Joan Andrews (uncredited) and an unidentified female trio
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the funniest films of all time.
21 June 2004 | by (Carrollton Ohio) – See all my reviews

The first time I seen this film, I literally laughed myself sick! This film is many, many different types of movies rolled into one. You can call is a mystery for the who done it, science fiction for the speak truth machine, crime drama for the gangster activity, musical for the songs, thriller for the spooky scenes in the dark, love story for the scenes between Bert Wheeler & Betty Grable and of course, a comedy. The only catagory it wouldn't fall in is a western. This film has all the elements of the true classic comedy. It has the classic slap-stick which is extinct now-a-days. The scenes w/ Arthur Treacher as the poor victim always encountering the boys on the steps is this rare extinct form of comedy . I love it when they throw his tennis balls and land right in the cop's mouths. The scenes toward the end are also great. It's especially funny when these poor colored chaps try to have their crap game and end up having the bejesus scared out of them. They end up being chased by everyone else. This film is non-stop fun and unlike modern films, it is completely free of foul language & sex. Only a little bit of mild violence which I wouldn't be afraid to show even to small children. This is a film that will make time fly. It is total fun from start to finish. I would recommend this film to everyone except those of who who have a bad heart; they may laugh themselves dead!

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