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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.


Dorothy Yost (screen play by), Thomas Lennon (screen play by) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview, first billed only:
James Gleason ... Police Insp. Oscar Piper
Helen Broderick ... Hildegarde Withers
Louise Latimer ... Barbara Foley
Owen Davis Jr. ... Edward 'Eddie' Fry
John Arledge ... Joey Thomas
John Carroll ... Latigo Wells
Leslie Fenton ... Don Gregg
Christian Rub ... Chris Thomas
Sheila Terry ... Violet Feverel
Willie Best ... 'High-Pockets'
John Miltern John Miltern ... Patrick 'Pat' Gregg
Spencer Charters ... Warden Sylvester Mahoney
James Donlan James Donlan ... Detective Kane
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Doctor Bloom, Police Dept.
Frank Reicher ... Dr. Peters (Gregg's)


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


A mystery smothered in suspense! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Miss Withers does say that she and "Mr. Jones" were out walking when they found the wandering horse. See more »


Hildegarde Withers: You're a fine fellow, High Pockets.
'High-Pockets': Yes, Ma'am, I sure am.
Hildegarde Withers: And I know I can trust you to keep quiet about all you told me, understand?
'High-Pockets': Yes, Ma'am, Miss Withers, when I keeps quiet, I keeps quiet aaalll over.
See more »


Followed by The Plot Thickens (1936) See more »

User Reviews

If it weren't for the earlier films in this series, this film would probably seem a bit better....
22 October 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

I was reading the review by Calvinnme and agree heartily. If the viewer never saw the previous Hildegard Withers films that starred Edna May Oliver, you might enjoy "Murder on a Bridle Path" even more. While Helen Broderick is very good in this role, Oliver was just better as Hildegard. Apparently, Oliver and the studio had a 'parting of the ways' and they unsuccessfully tried Broderick and later Zasu Pitts in Oliver's place. But, no matter how they tried, no one could match the charming crankiness of the original!

The film starts with a blonde lady being disagreeable with several folks--a clear giveaway that she'll soon be murdered (it's a standard cliché in mystery films of the time). VERY soon after, she's killed while out riding her horse. Again, Calvinnme was right--this character wasn't developed enough and her death came too quickly. The police assume she died by accident but soon they notice a few clues that indicate she was NOT killed by being kicked by a horse. Around this time, Hildegarde shows up and immediately begins digging for clues. Like any murder mystery of the era, there are lots of dead ends and twists--along with a VERY florid ending involving the murderer--and it's by far the best part of the movie.

This is a pretty good mystery film. Unfortunately, the snappy dialog from Withers isn't as obvious--not just due to Broderick but because the writing is a bit less snappy. Enjoyable but that's really about all.

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Release Date:

17 April 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Puzzle of the Briar Pipe 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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