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126 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hildegaard Withers there is no other
Hildegaard Withers character in the three murder mysteries are without a doubt, the most delightful characterization of a school marm mentality of her era. She played it to a Tee. These three are my most favorite murder mysteries ever. Though Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh as authors soon would come on the scene, and into movies, Gleason and Whithers...
Published 19 months ago by Bigprayer

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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE SOUND
I love these 6 movies. Especially the first 3. The picture quality is excellent. But the sound on this DVD-R collection is HORRIBLE! I will keep the 6 Hildegarde movies I recorded onto DVD's with GREAT SOUND, but a little less picture quality, from TCM.
Published 18 months ago by Jim


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126 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hildegaard Withers there is no other, August 9, 2013
This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
Hildegaard Withers character in the three murder mysteries are without a doubt, the most delightful characterization of a school marm mentality of her era. She played it to a Tee. These three are my most favorite murder mysteries ever. Though Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers and Ngaio Marsh as authors soon would come on the scene, and into movies, Gleason and Whithers showed us a long forgotten era of simplicity, kindness and mesmorizing relationships what we would call, silly old fashion emotions that we have long forgotten as a nation. It was the best and the worst of times and it was a time, we had to talk to each other or go find a phone. Wonderful wonderful black and whites.
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79 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You penguin fanciers are such flatterers.", September 22, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
First, I did not detect any sound issues with my DVD-R set of the Hildegarde Withers mysteries. But yes, at times, the picture quality does tend to be a bit scratchy in appearance. This is not constant. Otherwise, this is a pretty good transfer for movies this old.

The first three movies are the best because they star Edna May Oliver. Her performance of Miss Hildegarde Martha Withers is peerless. The mysteries are fun; the first involves a class outing that soon turns into murder, with Hildegarde as one of the unlikely suspects. She's determined to find the killer because she has no confidence that the police ever will. Enter James Gleason as the harried Inspector on the case. He's the perfect foil for Hildegarde; their verbal exchanges are hilarious. It's a pity they weren't paired for the full six films. Unfortunately two other actresses took over the lead role alongside James Gleason who deservedly got star billing against them. The first was the mother of actor Broderick Crawford, Helen Broderick. Although best known as a wisecracking character actress, Broderick stumbles with her interpretation of Hildegarde, turning her into an aloof sidekick given to the occasional acerbic wit. She is stiff and formal and presides over every scene with a smirk, there's nothing remotely lovable about her. Even stranger though, is the casting of ZaSu Pitts as the next Hildegarde Withers (in the last two films offered in this collection). ZaSu handily killed the series by making Hildegarde a bumbling idiot who stumbles onto the correct solution more by accident than any brilliance on her part. She reduces Hildegarde to a dizzy distracted ninny, "Oh dear, oh my............"
Oh well, three out of the six films are great, the others are just okay. (But I did miss Edna May by the end of them.)

Favorite verbal exchange: "Could it be suicide?" "Not unless he was a contortionist!"
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75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOVIES ARE FIRST RATE - THE SOUND & VIDEO NOT SO MUCH - I GIVE 5 STARS BECAUSE THE MOVIES ARE FIRST RATE!, August 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
Only the first three movies in the collection feature Edna May Oliver in all her awesome glory. Edna May Oliver IS the one and only Hildegarde Withers. Edna May Oliver rocks in the role of Hildegarde Withers her almost gaunt drawn prudish face is almost the spitting image of an old maid. Edna May Oliver's vocal intonation, prim proper speech and how she carries herself as a matronly old spinster school teacher of both quality and breeding is played to absolute perfection. When she is paired with the dour but manly Inspector from the New York City Police Department she really shines. The police inspectors blue collar, street wise roots contrast nicely against Hildegarde Withers Mysteries upper-crust natures and sensibilities. There is enough comedy in these mystery movies to keep one entertained but the comedy never gets in the way of the who-done-it. The Mysteries stand on their own in quality as they are not watered down to make room for the comedy. The comedy comes natural as the banter between Hildegarde Withers and the police detective center on class differences, the inspectors limited schooling \ logic and the detectives rather pugnacious bulldog like tendency to chase all suspects with equal vigor. Hildegarde Withers constantly reins in the good police inspector as she slowly methodically over time ferrets out the wrong-doer. These movies are great despite these being among the worse prints of the Penguin Pool Murders I have seen.

I purchased a rare DVD print of the Penguin Pool Murders that had Chinese writing as part of the introduction but; BOTH the sound and picture quality was the best I have ever seen anywhere! The Penguin Pool Murders copy on this DVD is in video at best only poor to fair at 6 out of possible 10 in quality. The video is very dim at times making it difficult to see what is going on. The video at times us to bright so details are washed out in a sea of intense brightness. The video is watchable for a person with reasonably good eyes but only just. People with poor eyesight will get nothing but a killer headache from watching this low quality video transfer.

The sound quality of the Penguin Pool Murders is barely a 5 out of a possible 10. The sound fades in and out. Generally the sound is so low you must turn your sound to max volume just to hear what is being said. At such high volume there is the annoying hum of equipment of some sort throughout the movie. The audio is hard to hear in some areas degrading to impossible to hear in other areas. The quality of the sound is just bad enough to make you struggle to understand what is being said which prevents one from becoming fully immersed \ involved in the fine acting and strong plot.

The sound and video image in the Murder on the Blackboard is only just slightly better than the first offering at 6 out of 10 and barely that. Murder on the Blackboard had essentially the same flaws as I reported in the Penguin Pool Murders consisting mostly of equipment noise and bad image quality.

The Murder on a Honeymoon the final DVD movie to feature Edna May Oliver as Hildegarde Withers is by far the best in the bunch regards sound quality. The sound is loud and relatively clear given the poor sound of the earlier movies in this collection. Sound in Murder on a Honeymoon is 7.5 out of 10 but video is still only fair to poor in most places.

You might ask if the video and sound are so bad why did I give this The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection my highest 5 star rating, those who read my reviews know I tend to be hard on everything. I demand quality always. Those who know my reviews might wrongly think I am going soft. NOPE I'm just as hard core as ever! The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection is just such a rare collection of the finest work that I can't let technical imperfections deprive potential buyers of these gems. Edna May Oliver is just so completely priceless as Hildegarde Withers that even if I factor every horrible aspect of the digital copy into my equation I still get FIVE STARS. I am soooo happy The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection is part of my DVD library I don't care about the lapse in quality. Before The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection there were NO legal copies of Murder on the Blackboard and Murder on a Honeymoon to be had anywhere. The now out of print Penguin Pool Murders DVD sells for ridiculous prices. If you were lucky you might make a copy of a Hildegarde Withers Mystery movie from a showing on cable but that your best hope till now. The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection shows us the power of a strong woman in a man's world long before the 1960's. Of course The Hildegarde Withers had to faint at the sight of dead bodies and cling to a strong man when things got rough due to the conventions of the day. Yet Hildegarde Withers even diluted was still a stong woman in a world where good proper ladies were seldom portrayed as so powerful, strong willed and capable! HORRAY for The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection, it was a LONG TIME COMING BUT NOW THAT ITS HERE I'M BROUGHT MINE WARTS AND ALL....HOW ABOUT YOU?!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waited so long, August 28, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
I have waited so long for this series to come to DVD. Such fun and laughs and at the same time good storytelling. I must admit I am disappointed in the audio of the first in the series. Then again I find a good many of the films from the early thirties seem to have deficiencies in that area. My preference in the series, of course, is the pairing of Edna May Oliver and James Gleason-what a lark they must have had making these films.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT SET OF MYSTERIES, September 8, 2013
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Kenneth Langlotz (KANEOHE, HAWAII United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
THE HILDEGARDE WITHERS MOVIES COLLECTION IS A RARE COLLECTION OF WHO-DONE-IT GEMS THAT IN HER OWN WAY RIVALS HER COUNTERPARTS, CHAN AND HOLMES WITH A TOUCH OF THIN MAN HUMOR. IF YOU LIKE OLD CLASSIC MOVIES THIS SET TAKES YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. AND ALL THE WHILE KEEPING YOUR ATTENTION FINDING THE NEXT CLUE......ENJOY................
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just plain fun, August 16, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
I just enjoy the old mysteries. The original Hildegarde is my favorite. We just need more of them. The new mysteries do not measure up!!
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE SOUND, August 18, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
I love these 6 movies. Especially the first 3. The picture quality is excellent. But the sound on this DVD-R collection is HORRIBLE! I will keep the 6 Hildegarde movies I recorded onto DVD's with GREAT SOUND, but a little less picture quality, from TCM.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For old mystery and Edna May Oliver fans, October 5, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
The quality of the films is excellent. As a lover of 1930's mystery books and detective stories I highly recommend these films. Stuart Palmer wrote the Hildegarde Withers mysteries with the actress Edna May Oliver in mind. She was a great comedic actress and most of these films star her. Some were made with other actresses as good at comedy as Miss Oliver. These are very well done true to Mr palmers written word and well preserved. I recommend them to every one. Bet you get hooked on early mysteries and seek out other Edna May Oliver films.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing quality of reproductions, October 4, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
The disc look great but in the second movie the digital blocks showed up half way through the movie and it stopped dead in it's tracks, could not even skip through it. Reloading the disc did nothing to clear the situation. Never did get to watch the end on Murder on the Blackboard. Very disappointed and worried about purchasing other digitized old movies because of quality of reproductions or rather lack thereof.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edna Mae Oliver's Hildegarde Withers is a wonderful piece of work!, November 2, 2013
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This review is from: The Hildegarde Withers Mysteries Movies Collection (DVD)
I love the three movies starring Edna Mae Oliver and James Gleason; they are quite fun to watch and I've waited forever for these to be put on DVD. Edna Mae ceased the role because she moved over to MGM, but Gleason continued as the cantankerous police inspector. The other three in the set are enjoyable, especially the last one in the series starring Zazu Pitts; she starred in the Hildegarde role in the previous movie but now presents a wonderful interpretation of the old girl sleuth. If you enjoy 30's mysteries then you should pick this up for Edna Mae and James Gleason alone, but the others are a nice treat, too.
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