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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?


One of 21 movies made by popular comedy duo Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey between 1929 and 1937, before Woolsey died in 1938. It is also the last minor feature directed by film luminary George Stevens before he broke through with Alice Adams (1935). 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

Great Fun
28 February 2008 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Nitwits, The (1935)

*** (out of 4)

Wheeler and Woolsey comedy has the boys playing cigar salesmen who get caught up in a murder mystery surrounding a killer known as "The Black Widow". This is a pretty good little gem that manages to be quite hilarious but it also has a good mystery surrounding it. There's also no doubt that this film influenced Abbott and Costello's Who Done It? not to mention there are other gags here later used by Abbott and Costello. The film has non-stop gags including a hilarious sequence that involves a chase towards the end of the film. Just about every type of gag gets thrown out there and the majority of them stick. There's also a very funny scene where Woolsey scares the future dead victim by singing a song about a black widow. Betty Grable play's Wheeler's girlfriend and the prime murder suspect and she's very good in her bit role. Black actor Willie Best has some of the funniest scenes, although most of them come in the form of racial jokes.

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