The Penguin Pool Murder (1932)

Genres - Crime, Mystery  |   Sub-Genres - Detective Film  |   Release Date - Dec 9, 1932 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 70 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Penguin Pool Murder is a delightful piece of murder mystery fluff. It's no classic of the genre, mind you, but it's a fun little movie, and one in which the comedy works equally as well as the mystery. The plot is, of course, concerned with "who done it," and it lays the pieces out in an entertaining manner. It's not especially hard to solve the identity of the murderer and some of the clues are put together a bit too handily, but Penguin is so much fun that few will care. Nor will they care too much about the climactic court room scene which, even by cinematic standards, veers off course from reality by a wide margin, nor about the willingness of the chief detective to misstate a valuable piece of evidence (which somehow keeps being withheld even during the trial). How can one care when the droll Edna May Oliver and the crusty James Gleason are having so much fun sparring with each other? Oliver and Gleason carry the picture, something two character actors don't get the chance to do very often, and boy do they make the most of the opportunity. They're such engaging company that it's easy -- almost de rigeur - to overlook Penguin's flaws.