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The Thirteenth Chair (1929)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery | 19 October 1929 (USA)
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) (as Elliott Clawson)
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Cast

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)
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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Completed July 16 1929, the first sound feature in which Bela Lugosi's famous Hungarian tones were heard. See more »

Goofs

It's noted elsewhere as a "goof" that the actors seem to be caught waiting for their cues, but many of the earliest MGM talkies employed a technique of long lingering inactive moments at the beginning and ending of reels, which apparently are supposed to take the place of leader when they change over, perhaps accommodating the Vitaphone print versions. Years ago, when these titles appeared on TV, they didn't do that, so maybe Movietone versions were more succinctly edited. By WesternOne. 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

 
Scramble for sound
25 January 2016 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When sound came to the motion picture there must have been a scramble for written material of any kind for the studios. Once it was proved it could be done, the public wanted to hear their screen idols speak and they had to have dialog.

What works on stage did not often work on screen and when The Thirteenth Chair was made the studios were still getting sound right. We got all kinds of dialog, but here it was all kind of static and dull. And the cast generally overacts in this film

Two performers here stand out. Margaret Wycherly best known as the mothers of Alvin York and Cody Jarrett later on was in the original cast on Broadway when it opened in 1916. She plays a psychic medium who is brought in to solve a murder already committed. During the séance the guy who arranged the séance is also dispatched. After that the cops call in.

Lots of mysteries always have that climatic scene where the detective gathers the suspects be it Nick Charles or Jane Marple. But this is a film where the whole film is that scene. The other actor is Bela Lugosi who in this mystery set in British India speaks that marvelous Hungarian as a Scotland Yard detective.

Lugosi acquits himself well, but he's just so well known in those horror films I expected him to be the murderer.

Everybody overacts, but they were learning on the job the art of acting in talking pictures.


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