37 user 11 critic

Penguin Pool Murder (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 9 December 1932 (USA)
Shady stockbroker and abusive husband Gerald Parker is found dead in the penguin pool of a NYC aquarium after being knocked cold by his wife's boyfriend.


George Archainbaud


Willis Goldbeck (screen play), Stuart Palmer (from the novel by) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Edna May Oliver ... Miss Withers
Robert Armstrong ... Barry Costello
James Gleason ... Oscar Piper
Mae Clarke ... Gwen Parker
Donald Cook ... Philip Seymour
Edgar Kennedy ... Donovan
Clarence Wilson ... Bertrand B. Hemingway (as Clarence H. Wilson)
James Donlan James Donlan ... Fink
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Von Donnen (as Gustav Von Seyffertitz)
William Le Maire William Le Maire ... MacDonald (as William LeMaire)
Joe Hermano Joe Hermano ... Chicago Lew
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... Parker
Rochelle Hudson ... Telephone Operator
Wilfrid North Wilfrid North ... Judge


The body of unscrupulous stockbroker Gerald Parker suddenly appears in the penguin tank at the aquarium. Naturally, suspicion falls on his wife and her boyfriend, who were present. Inspector Piper investigates with the unsolicited aid of teacher Hildegard Withers, a witness who's taken an interest in the case; Piper develops a grudging respect for Miss Withers' acumen (and sharp tongue), as they search among the red herrings for the aquarium killer... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A School-marm from Iowa Solves a Crime That Stumped the Police (Print ad- Elmira Star-Gazette ((Elmira, N. Y.)) 13 February 1933) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The New York Aquarium, where the Penguin Pool Murder is set, was originally located on the southern tip of Manhattan in Battery Park from 1896 until it was closed in 1941. It has been located in Coney Island since 1957. See more »


After Oliver and Gleason finish eating breakfast in Oliver's home, Oliver looks into the camera, or towards the crew, several times. Appears as if she is puzzled or taking direction from someone. See more »


Oscar Piper: If that penguin could talk I bet he'd tell us who the murderer was.
See more »


Referenced in Murder on the Blackboard (1934) See more »

User Reviews

a great beginning
28 May 2002 | by pyamadaSee all my reviews

This is the first of three films that Oliver and Gleason made together as teacher Miss Withers and Inspector Piper. It is also the best, though Murder on the Blackboard is also top notch. The series continued without Oliver, but not at the same level. The dialogue is witty, prim, sarcastic and sometimes even suggestive. Gleason and Oliver have a fabulous chemistry, the likes of which would never been seen today, due to casting decisions that have more to do with pretty faces that acting talent and intelligence. If you like early talkie mysteries, this one will satisfy anytime.

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Release Date:

9 December 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Penguin Pool Murder See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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