George Archainbaud – Penguin Pool Murder (1932)

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RKO Pictures launched what could have been one of the great detective series in 1932, when Edna May Oliver starred in “The Penguin Pool Murder”. As Stuart Palmer’s elderly schoolteacher turned sleuth Hildegarde Withers, Oliver was one of the screen’s most liberated women, defying Police Inspector Oscar Piper (James Gleason) to track down killers with little regard for his pride or her own safety. Although Oliver left the series after only two more installments, leading to a serious decline in quality for the films, her first two outings in particular were years ahead of their time, thanks to director George Archainbaud’s uniquely visual narrative skills and for the films’ depiction of an older, independent woman.
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