When the body of Violet Feverel is discovered on the Central Park bridle path, Inspector Oscar Piper is about to declare her death accidental from a thrown horse, until his friend and amateur detective Hildegarde Withers locates the horse and discovers blood on the horse. The coroner deems it a murder when the cause of death is shown to be by a blunt instrument on the victim's head. The suspects include Violet's ex-husband, Don Gregg, who she jailed for nonpayment of alimony, but who was just released by a forged court order; Latigo Wells, the manager of Violet's stables and who had an argument with her that morning; and Eddie Fry, who had quarreled with Violet over his seeing her sister, Barbara Foley, and who was about to elope with Barbara. At Don's Long Island home, Hildegarde and Oscar meet his sickly father, Patrick, the caretaker, Chris Thomas, and his crippled son, Joey. After Patrick is murdered, Hildegarde snoops around and discovers clues which pinpoint the murderer, who is... Written by
Arthur Hausner <email@example.com>
If it weren't for the earlier films in this series, this film would probably seem a bit better....
I was reading the review by Calvinnme and agree heartily. If the viewer never saw the previous Hildegard Withers films that starred Edna May Oliver, you might enjoy "Murder on a Bridle Path" even more. While Helen Broderick is very good in this role, Oliver was just better as Hildegard. Apparently, Oliver and the studio had a 'parting of the ways' and they unsuccessfully tried Broderick and later Zasu Pitts in Oliver's place. But, no matter how they tried, no one could match the charming crankiness of the original!
The film starts with a blonde lady being disagreeable with several folks--a clear giveaway that she'll soon be murdered (it's a standard cliché in mystery films of the time). VERY soon after, she's killed while out riding her horse. Again, Calvinnme was right--this character wasn't developed enough and her death came too quickly. The police assume she died by accident but soon they notice a few clues that indicate she was NOT killed by being kicked by a horse. Around this time, Hildegarde shows up and immediately begins digging for clues. Like any murder mystery of the era, there are lots of dead ends and twists--along with a VERY florid ending involving the murderer--and it's by far the best part of the movie.
This is a pretty good mystery film. Unfortunately, the snappy dialog from Withers isn't as obvious--not just due to Broderick but because the writing is a bit less snappy. Enjoyable but that's really about all.
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