7.0/10
898
35 user 9 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.

Director:

George Archainbaud

Writers:

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

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A pretty young music teacher is bludgeoned to death in Hildegarde's school, where she's reunited with Oscar, but the autopsy report says she was dying from poison too.

Director: George Archainbaud
Stars: Edna May Oliver, James Gleason, Bruce Cabot
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A schoolteacher and amateur sleuth suspects foul play when a fellow passenger on a sea-plane gets sick and dies.

Director: Lloyd Corrigan
Stars: Edna May Oliver, James Gleason, Lola Lane
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A priceless Cellini silver cup is stolen from a local museum with both Hildegarde and Oscar on the case.

Director: Ben Holmes
Stars: James Gleason, Zasu Pitts, Owen Davis Jr.
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

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.

Directors: William Hamilton, Edward Killy
Stars: James Gleason, Helen Broderick, Louise Latimer
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

While Oscar and Hildegarde are attending a Broadway show, a press agent is shot in an actress' dressing room and an actor is murdered onstage in full view of the audience. Oscar and Hildegarde are on the case.

Director: Edward F. Cline
Stars: James Gleason, Zasu Pitts, Marjorie Lord
Certificate: Passed Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After socialite Lynn Llewwllen receives an anonymous threat, he is poisoned at his uncle's casino, and although he recovers, his wife is murdered by the same killer.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: Paul Lukas, Alison Skipworth, Donald Cook
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The Falcon investigates jewel thieves who are working with hard up socialites to defraud insurance companies. First of the Falcon series.

Director: Irving Reis
Stars: George Sanders, Wendy Barrie, Allen Jenkins
Smart Blonde (1937)
Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Female reporter Torchy Blane teams with her cop boyfriend Lt. Steve McBride to solve the killing of an investor who just bought a popular local nightclub.

Director: Frank McDonald
Stars: Glenda Farrell, Barton MacLane, Wini Shaw
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Lord Peter Wimsey is an amateur detective. He is to be married to Harriet Vane, who writes crime novels, at a big Society wedding. Harriet has little charms made so that they both promise ... See full summary »

Directors: Arthur B. Woods, Richard Thorpe
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Constance Cummings, Leslie Banks
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An improbable stuttering bishop from Australia asks for Perry's help in proving the identity of the legitimate heir to a millionaire.

Director: William Clemens
Stars: Donald Woods, Ann Dvorak, Anne Nagel
Guilty Hands (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A district attorney commits the perfect murder when he kills his daughter's womanizing fiancé and then tries framing the fiancé's lover.

Directors: W.S. Van Dyke, Lionel Barrymore
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Kay Francis, Madge Evans
Comedy | Mystery | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A respected investment advisor has a double life as a mystery writer and becomes involved in the real murder of a shady client.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Ralph Bellamy
Edit

Cast

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 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
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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

Runtime:

| (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Ruth Snyder - Judd Gray murder case alluded to by Inspector Piper was a notoriously inept crime of passion committed in 1927. Both "Double Indemnity" and "The Postman Always Rings Twice" were inspired by the case, according to their author James M. Cain. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Oscar Piper: [In the aquarium] What are you doin' hangin' around this fish house?
Barry Costello: Well, it's Friday, isn't it?
Oscar Piper: It isn't Friday for wisecracks!
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Plot Thickens (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Entertaining mystery boosted by Oliver and Gleason chemistry
25 February 2001 | by RJVSee all my reviews

In the 1930s, RKO produced a series of mysteries concerning the detective activities of schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers. Viewing the first film, THE PENGUIN POOL MURDER, one can understand why the series immediately took off. The mystery itself is well constructed and engrossing. Director George Archainbaud's presentation of the murder victim's discovery is imaginative. In an aquarium, a boy discovers a penguin acting strangely, as if encountering an intruder. The penguin's behavior is immediately explained when a corpse suddenly plunges into the tank! The scenario, based on a Stuart Palmer novel, features some intriguing red herrings with plausible motives for the murder. By the time the killer is revealed, it is fairly obvious who the culprit is, but the mystery is resolved in a clever and credible manner.

THE PENGUIN POOL MURDER is especially worthwhile due to its spirited lead performances. As Withers, Edna May Oliver is drolly acerbic, tartly disdaining the police's ineffectual work as she proceeds to solve the case. As Police Inspector Oscar Piper, James Gleason blusters amusingly, determined to find the killer without Withers' help. Oliver and Gleason truly sparkle in their relationship. Initially, they're cagey of each other but an underlying mutual affection quickly develops. Piper and Withers continue to argue about the case throughout the picture but in an amiable manner that precludes the possibility of mutual ill will. Even if the mystery becomes too familiar to be suspenseful upon repeated viewings, THE PENGUIN POOL MURDER can still be savored due to Oliver and Gleason's marvelous chemistry.


9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed