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Murder on a Bridle Path (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 17 April 1936 (USA)
After Hildegarde proves that the accidental riding death on a Central Park bridle path is really murder, she's faced with a plethora of red herrings and a real killer.

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(screen play by), (screen play by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Barbara Foley
...
Edward 'Eddie' Fry
...
Joey Thomas
...
Latigo Wells
...
Don Gregg
...
Chris Thomas
...
Violet Feverel
Willie Best ...
'High-Pockets'
John Miltern ...
Patrick 'Pat' Gregg
Spencer Charters ...
Warden Sylvester Mahoney
James Donlan ...
Detective Kane
...
Doctor Bloom, Police Dept.
...
Dr. Peters (Gregg's)
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Storyline

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 <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A mystery smothered in suspense! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Puzzle of the Briar Pipe  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this is the first and only time Helen Broderick played Hildegarde Withers in the six picture series, James Gleason did play Inspector Oscar Piper in all of them. See more »

Quotes

Police Insp. Oscar Piper: [In frustration] Well, I'm a speckled ape!
Hildegarde Withers: [Dryly] This is no time for a confession, Oscar.
See more »

Connections

Follows Murder on the Blackboard (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A new Miss Withers is still quite sharp
30 October 2011 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

"It would be you," Inspector Piper nods the moment he turns and sees Hildegarde Withers arriving on the scene. "It's gotten so, Hildegarde, a person can't be killed within the city limits without your showing up."

This is, indeed, the fourth murder case on which Miss Withers assists, critiques, leads, follows, and just generally offers suggestions to her crusty detective friend. James Gleason's Oscar Piper is once again easily chagrined but grudgingly respectful of Miss Withers' detecting skills; Helen Broderick takes on the role of school teacher and amateur sleuth Hildegarde Withers for the first and only time. This Withers is a bit less tart and somewhat more conscious of her own wittiness than the earlier Withers (as portrayed by Edna May Oliver). Broderick and Gleason quickly establish a rapport and relationship that—as in the earlier films in the series—is easily our primary reason for watching.

The plot involves the death of society girl Violet Feveral, played (albeit briefly) with delicious nastiness by Sheila Terry. Suspects abound—this Violet was, in the best whodunit tradition, wildly unpopular and had handed out insults and injuries to numerous other characters in the hours and days before her death. The familiar faces in the lineup of suspects include Louise Latimer as a sister to the victim; John Carroll as a family employee; and Leslie Fenton, who is quite good as the nervous ex-husband who has just been mysteriously released from jail. Willie Best stands out in his usual thankless role as a stable boy who may have a clue or two; his deadpan delivery when answering questions (What was he doing in jail? "Shooting craps." No, what was he in jail for? "Shooting craps.") squeezes the maximum out of a role that's otherwise a lame stereotype.

The mystery itself is not particularly inventive or suspenseful; however, the story moves along briskly and the actors and script are competent if not brilliant. The interaction between Gleason and Broderick is clearly presented as the center of the picture—and that relationship between a couple of pros is a lot of fun to watch. (One example: Oscar suggests that the murder was a "crime of passion," to which Hildegarde snaps, "Oscar, don't you think we'd better try to keep this case clean?")

Bonus: we are instructed what can be learned about a person from examining his pipe!


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