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Murder on the Blackboard (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 15 June 1934 (USA)
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.


George Archainbaud


Willis Goldbeck (screenplay), Stuart Palmer (story)




Complete credited cast:
Edna May Oliver ... Hildegarde Withers
James Gleason ... Inspector Oscar Piper
Bruce Cabot ... Addison 'Ad' Stevens
Gertrude Michael ... Jane Davis
Regis Toomey ... Detective Smiley North
Edgar Kennedy ... Detective Donahue
Tully Marshall ... Mr. MacFarland
Jackie Searl ... Leland Stanford Jones
Frederick Vogeding Frederick Vogeding ... Otto Schweitzer, the Janitor (as Fredrik Vogeding)
Barbara Fritchie ... Louise Halloran
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Dr. Max Von Immen
Tom Herbert Tom Herbert ... Detective McTeague
Jed Prouty ... Dr. Levine


There are plenty of guilty secrets at the school where Hildegarde Withers teaches. When she finds the body of the pretty music teacher, she calls in her old friend Inspector Piper, who promptly arrests the obvious suspect. Clues multiply and everyone looks suspicious as Piper and Miss Withers continue their battle of the sexes. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Miss Snooper Withers gives the Police lessons in detecting! (original print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Lindsey Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - Sept. 22, 1934) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This was the second of what would eventually be six movie adaptations of the Miss Withers mystery novels. Edna May Oliver played Withers in the first three, Helen Broderick starred in the fourth and Zasu Pitts was Withers in the final two. James Gleason was Inspector Piper in all six entries. These films were essentially RKO's equivalent of M-G-M's Thin Man series, Fox's Charlie Chan franchise and Warners' Mister Moto movies. See more »


Two wide-mouthed bottles appear out of nowhere on Miss Halloran's desk as Miss Withers searches it. See more »


Oscar Piper: You were the only one besides Schweitzer who knew she had the lottery ticket. You planned the whole thing.
Jane Davis: I didn't! I tell you, I didn't!
Oscar Piper: You murdered your best friend for a mere Sweepstakes prize.
Hildegarde Withers: A mere Sweepstakes prize of $50,000. Ha! I'd murder some people I know for 50 cents.
Oscar Piper: Ah, the French secret police are now wit' us. I gave orders for the teachers to be here at 9. It's now 10.
Hildegarde Withers: Ten AFTER ten, Inspector.
Oscar Piper: Something important kept you, I suppose.
Hildegarde Withers: Just the solution of the murder, that's all.
Oscar Piper: Oh, ...
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References The Invisible Man (1933) See more »


The Sidewalks of New York
Music by Charles Lawlor (1894)
Played after the credits
See more »

User Reviews

Edna May Oliver - Super Sleuth
15 January 2000 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

This was the second of 3 films Edna May Oliver made at RKO starring as that indomitable school teacher/sleuth, Miss Hildegarde Withers. As always, Miss Oliver steals the show, sticks it in her handbag and walks off with it.

This time she attempts to track down a murderer right in her own New York City school. With her gimlet eye & no-nonsense manner, the killer never really stands a chance.

Miss Oliver, as always, is a joy to watch. James Gleason returns as the harried police detective Oscar Piper, now Hildegarde's boyfriend. Also on hand are Edgar Kennedy, Bruce Cabot & Tully Marshall. But, as in the other Withers films, Edna May is the real reason to watch.

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Release Date:

15 June 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder on the Blackboard See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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