Chiselled Features

I chiselled Edna May Oliver, esteemed character actor/comedian.

Here, at The Chiseler.

2 Responses to “Chiselled Features”

  1. bensondonald Says:

    A big fan of the Hildegarde Withers mysteries. The idea that a no-nonsense schoolteacher has the perfect skill set for dealing with murderers is inspired. It’s shocking that the concept hasn’t been revived (putting a cop in a kindergarten doesn’t count).

    Oliver appears in the first three, and the first — THE PENGUIN POOL MURDERS — is the best, not only offering a nicely odd romance with James Gleason but closing out the obligatory young lovers’ story with crowd-pleasing contempt. The only sour note is in the opening scene, where Miss Withers benignly leads her ethnically diverse field trip group … except for the dim Jewish boy.

    After Oliver graduated to smaller parts in bigger movies at MGM, they brought in Helen Broderick, who was perfectly good in a lame movie. Then came Zazu Pitts, who tried to shed some of her dithering old dear persona in the first film, then reverted to it in the last film. A roomful of fifth graders would have eaten her alive. Also, she seemed to be more James Gleason’s sidekick than the star sleuth.

    A television movie in the 70s starred Eve Arden, which is dream casting on the face of it. But for reasons unknown, the character is written and played as a lovable scatterbrain savant instead of Arden’s signature smart mouth.

  2. I’d love to see the character return. Penguin Pool is by far the best entry, but she would seem to have “legs.”

    EMO’s swan song, in Duvivier’s Lydia, is a suitably meaty role, and she tucks into it, and the scenery, with an undiminished hearty appetite.

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