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?


Dorothy Granger (Phyllis) is in studio records/casting call lists for this movie, but she did not appear or was not identifiable. 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 »


The Black Widow's Gonna Getcha If You Don't Watch Out
Composer unknown
Sung by Robert Woolsey
See more »

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User Reviews

A Murder Mystery With Wheeler & Woolsey
1 April 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

When the Black Widow murderer strikes at the boss of a music production business, THE NITWITS who run the cigar stand down in the lobby find themselves under investigation for homicide. Can the Boys find the real villain before he kills again?

A rather routine Wheeler & Woolsey comedy (Bert Wheeler is the one with the curly hair; Robert Woolsey has the cigar & spectacles) but the Boys are always fun to watch. Betty Grable is on hand this time as Wheeler’s love interest. Blustery Hale Hamilton is one of the Black Widow’s victims. Erik Rhodes has a small role as a suspect. Willie Best is on hand to add to the madcap finale. Film mavens will recognize Arthur Treacher as the man with the tennis equipment.

Wheeler & Grable sing “You Opened My Eyes” - Woolsey warbles “The Black Widow’s Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out”. There is some racial stereotyping, not unusual in Hollywood films of this period.

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