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The Woman in Room 13 is a 1932 American mystery film directed by Henry King, written by Guy Bolton and Max Marcin. Cast: Elissa Landi, Ralph Bellamy, Neil Hamilton, Myrna Loy. Released on May 15, 1932, by Fox Film Corporation.
This is a very ordinary precode involving the wealthy Thomases. The parents (Lewis Stone and Laura Hope Crews) are worried about their two grown children. Son Ralph (Robert Young) as well as daughter Phyl (Margaret Perry) are taken to partying every night and sleeping until noon. Ralph's individual demon is that he fancies himself more than a designer of wallpaper at the family business - he wants to go to France and become a great artist. Phyl's problem is that she is in love with a married man (David Newell as Duf) whose wife won't let him go. Both kids wind up doing what they want to do in spite of their parents' objections. Ralph does go to France to study art. Phyl sets up house with Duf with no hope of marriage in sight. So far this is an extraordinarily ordinary precode. So what makes it worthwhile? For one, one kid winds up with their hopes dashed the other gets their wish. Which one triumphs and which one does not and how this happens is the unexpected part. Also very interesting is a tryst Ralph has with a French neighbor when he is in Paris. That neighbor happens to be played by Myrna Loy and the nature of the tryst is what is so unexpected. In one scene she is complaining about the noise Ralph is making. In the next scene it is the next morning and she and Ralph are bouncing around in their pajamas! What's more we never see the French girl again in Ralph's life. How realistic that not every sexual encounter leads to either tragedy or the altar, which is something that would never be allowed in the production code era.
The ending is warm although abrupt as the kids grow a few years older and seem to be gradually becoming their parents. Plus both kids grow a genuine appreciation for Aunty Doe (Elizabeth Patterson), someone they ridiculed just a few years before as silly and out of touch.
This one is an OK time passer, but there really is nothing out of the ordinary to distinguish it from other precodes of the era other than the chance to see two stars just starting out - Myrna Loy and Robert Young - and one star of the stage making a rare film appearance - Margaret Perry.
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