6.1/10
281
15 user 5 critic

The Nitwits (1935)

Passed | | Comedy, Crime, Music | 7 June 1935 (USA)
A would-be songwriter and a would-be inventor run a cigar stand and get mixed up in the murder of a song publisher.

Director:

George Stevens

Writers:

Fred Guiol (screen play), Al Boasberg (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bert Wheeler ... Johnnie
Robert Woolsey ... Newton
Betty Grable ... Mary Roberts
Hale Hamilton ... Winfield Lake
Evelyn Brent ... Mrs. Alice Lake
Erik Rhodes ... George Clark
Fred Keating ... William Darrell
Charles C. Wilson ... Police Captain Jennings (as Charles Wilson)
Arthur Aylesworth ... Lurch
Willie Best ... Sleepy
Lew Kelly Lew Kelly ... J. Gabriel Hazel
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Storyline

Johnnie is a would-be songwriter; Newton is a would-be inventor. Both work at a cigar stand in the lobby of an office building. Johnnie wants to sell a song to Winfield Lake, a song publisher and the owner of the building. Lake's secretary, Mary, is Johnnie's sweetheart. When Lake turns up dead, circumstances conspire to make Mary and Newton think that Johnnie is the killer. They conspire again to implicate Mary, who goes to jail. But who really shot Lake? Who is the Black Widow, the blackmailer who had threatened him? The other characters in this wacky murder mystery are: Lake's suspicious wife, a self-satisfied private detective, a seemingly slow-witted janitor, Lake's auditor, a songwriter who thinks Lake is stealing from him and another who thinks everyone is stealing from him. It's up to Newton and his truth machine to reveal the real killer. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A GOOFY TALE OF LIPSTICKS, HIP STICKS AND SLAPSTICKS! (original poster-all caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Music | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La viuda negra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie and eight others released in a DVD collection entitled "Wheeler & Woolsey: RKO Comedy Classics Collection in March 2013 by Warner Archive. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Male Singer: [singing] I'm not the same at all, / And I can blame it all; / I thought that love was a lark. / There's something strange in me, / The sudden change in me; / I walk around in the dark. / Suddenly I found a star. / You've opened my eyes. / You made me see the light, / The beauty of the night. / You've opened my eyes. / You taught me to see / The sunny side of things. / The heart within me sings. / You brought this to me.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown on a player-piano music roll, which ends with the screen filling with black music notes. See more »

Connections

References High Gear (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

The Black Widow's Gonna Getcha If You Don't Watch Out
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Sung by Robert Woolsey
See more »

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User Reviews

Good Music, OK Comedy
18 November 2013 | by GManfredSee all my reviews

The humor in the films of Wheeler and Woolsey seemed to go steadily downhill from their early promise in "Rio Rita" to at least this one, made 6 years later. These two very funny guys try mightily to overcome some tepid material in "The Nitwits" and get a boost from the murder mystery back story, which at least challenges you to spot the murderer.

The familiar faces on hand are Betty Grable as Bert's girl friend, Erik Rhodes, best remembered with a foreign accent in some Astaire/Rogers musicals, and Willie Best who plays (what else?) the janitor. Also Arthur Treacher, who has some funny scenes as a hapless tennis instructor enroute to an appointment in the building where most of the story takes place.

There are two good songs in the picture which elevate the proceedings and my rating, "Music In My Heart" and "You Opened My Eyes", which is the better of the two. Wheeler and Grable dance together in that one in a pretty athletic and acrobatic number. It makes you wonder how much better this could have been with better screenwriters.


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