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The Thirteenth Chair (1929)

Passed  -  Drama | Mystery  -  19 October 1929 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 225 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 3 critic

Although his murdered friend was by all accounts a scoundrel a true "bounder" Edward Wales is determined to trap his killer by staging a seance using a famous medium. Many of the 13 seance ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(from the play by), (dialogue continuity), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Margaret Wycherly ...
Helene Millard ...
Mary Eastwood
Holmes Herbert ...
Mary Forbes ...
Lady Crosby
...
Inspector Delzante
John Davidson ...
Edward Wales
Charles Quatermaine ...
Dr. Philip Mason (as Charles Quartermaine)
Moon Carroll ...
Helen Trent
Cyril Chadwick ...
Bertram Johns ...
Howard Standish
Gretchen Holland ...
Grace Standish
Frank Leigh ...
Professor Feringeea
...
Commissioner Grimshaw (as Clarence Geldert)
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Storyline

Although his murdered friend was by all accounts a scoundrel a true "bounder" Edward Wales is determined to trap his killer by staging a seance using a famous medium. Many of the 13 seance participants had a reason and a means to kill, and one of them uses the cover of darkness to kill again. When someone close to the medium is suspected she turns detective, in the hope of uncovering the true murderer. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE THRILL SENSATION OF THE YEAR! The celebrated mystery play that ran a year on Broadway! A Talking Picture you mustn't miss! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 13th Chair  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play opened in New York City, New York on 20 November 1916 and ran for 328 performances. The cast included Margaret Wycherly, who is also in the movie, and Walter Young. See more »

Quotes

Inspector Delzante: [Interrogating a suspect, consulting his notes] Perhaps this will refresh your memory.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Thirteenth Chair (1919) See more »

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User Reviews

Early Bela Lugosi showpiece
28 October 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This seems to have been the first major film role film for Bela Lugosi. He dominates the film entirely, with tremendous confidence and panache. Two years later, he and the same director, Tod Browning, would make their famous horror classic 'Dracula' (1931) together. This film is based on a stage play by Bayard Veiller, whose wife, Margaret Wycherley, played the medium both on stage and in the film, to great effect. Since talkies only commenced the year before, this 1929 film does very well in the sound department. What is really terrible about it is the editing, some of the worst any feature film ever had: a woman gets up from her chair and exits frame and we wait for some time, then we cut to the next frame and wait an endless age for her to enter that frame. Really appalling! Tod Browning either had no control over this process or had not learned to direct properly yet. Despite the slow pace and creaky nature of the production, the film nevertheless manages to be intriguing in its excellently complex mystery plot. It is one of those 'people in a room in the dark' films: whodunnit? There are plenty of surprises. The story is ostensibly set in Calcutta, under the Empire, although shot entirely in a studio. It is an interesting study of how British Empire types behaved in the 1920s, hence of considerable social history interest as a 'document'. (They don't come out of it well, being so arch, false, and over-mannered that one does not regret their passing.) The main action centres round a seance and the activities of a medium, in connection with trying to solve the murder of someone who was 'an out and out rotter'. Despite its shortcomings, this film is still entertaining and worth watching.


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