Up 4,175 this week

The Thirteenth Chair (1929)

Passed  |   |  Drama, Mystery  |  19 October 1929 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.1/10 from 227 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 »



(from the play by), (dialogue continuity) (as Elliott Clawson) , 1 more credit »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 100 titles
created 11 Aug 2011
a list of 805 titles
created 12 Dec 2011
a list of 1166 titles
created 02 Feb 2012
a list of 6727 titles
created 03 Dec 2013
a list of 27 titles
created 6 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Thirteenth Chair (1929)

The Thirteenth Chair (1929) on IMDb 6.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Thirteenth Chair.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Priscilla Dean, Wheeler Oakman, Lon Chaney
Phantom Ship (1935)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

During a horrific storm at sea, the crew realizes that there is a murderer among them who is killing them off one by one.

Director: Denison Clift
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Shirley Grey, Arthur Margetson
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore
Dracula (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

Directors: Tod Browning, Karl Freund
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

James Houghland, inventor of a new method by which television signals can be instantaneously sent anywhere in the world, refuses to sell the process to television companies, who then send ... See full summary »

Director: Clifford Sanforth
Stars: Bela Lugosi, June Collyer, Huntley Gordon
Adventure | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A mad scientist tries to sell his formula for a dist integrating gas to foreign powers.

Directors: Alan James, William Witney
Stars: Ralph Byrd, Bela Lugosi, Maxine Doyle
Broadminded (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Jack's father is sending Jack away to keep him from the gambling, booze, girls and late nights. He has Ossie go as Jack's companion, not knowing that Ossie does the same things as Jack. ... See full summary »

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Joe E. Brown, Ona Munson, William Collier Jr.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A corrupt art patron finds himself in love with the same girl as his stepson.

Director: Wilfred Noy
Stars: Lila Lee, Gareth Hughes, Dolores Cassinelli
Comedy | Horror | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The manager of Kay Kyser's band books them for a birthday party bash for an heiress at a spooky mansion, where sinister forces try to kill her.

Director: David Butler
Stars: Kay Kyser, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff
Certificate: Passed Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A madman sets out to destroy a group of Chinatown merchants.

Director: Robert F. Hill
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Bruce Bennett, Joan Barclay
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A wealthy and powerful industrialist changes his identity to avenge himself on the wife that spurned him on their wedding night.

Director: Kenneth Hawks
Stars: Warner Baxter, Catherine Dale Owen, Hedda Hopper
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Unjustly convicted of murdering the major who transferred him to another outpost, a doctor makes good his escape then sets out to prove his innocence using another identity.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Victor Jory, Loretta Young, Vivienne Osborne


Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret Wycherly ...
Helene Millard ...
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)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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 »


Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

19 October 1929 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 13th Chair  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


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


Version of The Thirteenth Chair (1919) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"A Message Has Come"!!!
26 August 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

This film proves that in 1929 a lot of talking films were still primitive and although most of the cast seemed reasonably at ease with dialogue, John Davidson's perfect and slow pronunciation really stuck out. There is even a scene toward the end where people are grouped (obviously waiting to begin the scene) and after a few seconds they start talking and mingling. "Locked room" movies were all the rage in these early days - one set was all that was needed and the studios could then show off their sound skills. For MGM, who had already made "The Broadway Melody", "The Last of Mrs. Cheyney" and "Halelujah", this film was static and unimaginative. The magic that Tod Browning had weaved with Lon Chaney in the 20s seemed to evaporate when talking pictures appeared. Apart from "Dracula" and "Freaks", which harked back to his days as a director of shock and suspense, he spent the rest of his career in programmers and remakes of his silent hits.

It also feels like it has a few minutes missing from the start - or I'm a bit dense!! Everyone seems to know what's going on already - renowned womaniser Spencer Lee has been killed by a woman - but which woman??? Ned Wales (John Davidson) is the only person in the house who liked Lee (Spencer had saved him from drowning when they were children) and who is determined to find his killer. Even he acts suspiciously, trying to bribe the servants (again, the action obviously takes place in India but the audience is never told). There is an establishing shot of the two leads, Richard Crosby (Conrad Nagel) is trying to convince Helen O'Neill (Leila Hyams) to marry him. It's the old "you may be only my mother's secretary but you're good enough for me" routine. Nagel and Hyams may have been the leads but they are only required to stand around looking worried, fearful, determined etc.

The stage is set for the show down between the real stars - wonderful Margaret Wycherley as the medium Madame La Grange, an unassuming "nanny" type, who nevertheless, has a few secrets and menacing Bela Lugosi as Inspector Delzante and he still manages to act like Dracula. Even though that film role was 2 years in the future he had played it on Broadway on and off during the 20s. Just to hear him say "What you propose is too horrible to contemplate - but we will do it!!!

Margaret Wycherley was a character actress supreme. She really hit her stride in the 40s and even though you struggle to remember some of the movies, you definitely remember her ("Johnny Angel" - she played a domineering nanny). Of course she was Ma Jarrett in "White Heat" and Ma Forrester in "The Yearling" - "my boy, my poor crookedy boy". In "The Thirteenth Chair" she was a breath of fresh air and proved stage actors weren't always stiff. Her husband, Bayard Veiller wrote the original play "The Thirteenth Chair" that had a healthy run of 328 performances, back in 1916 and in which Margaret Wycherley played the same role of Rosalie La Grange.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Thirteenth Chair (1929) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: