13 years before the movie opens, there was a dinner party, at which the 13th guest failed to show up. The master of the manner has died, and left the bulk of his estate to this 13th guest, ... See full summary »
13 years before the movie opens, there was a dinner party, at which the 13th guest failed to show up. The master of the manner has died, and left the bulk of his estate to this 13th guest, but nobody knows who that is. Now someone is murdering the remaining guests, and placing their dead bodies at the table, in the same seat they had occupied 13 years before. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
This poverty row thriller has a similar storyline to "The Cat and the Canary" - haunted house, frightened heiress, a disguised killer, secret passages etc. Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot, who plays Phil Winston were not a romantic couple in this film (although they did date briefly in real life) until the last five minutes - he being very keen on solving the murders.
The film starts imaginatively with a clutching hand pulling down each title card. Marie Morgan (or Lela) (Ginger Rogers) arrives at her old family home - one that hasn't been occupied for 13 years to find a telephone has been installed!!! After reading a cryptic message left by her father, she remembers back to a dinner party of 13 years before. The thirteenth guest did not arrive. When her father died he left the bulk of his estate to the 13th guest who never came forward. Thirteen years later the police are called to view a girls body, they believe has been electrocuted.
There is a "hooded terror" roaming and controlling the house through an "electrified" phone - when people answer it, a lever is pushed and the victim dies. It seems that the killer wanted the police to believe that Marie was the victim but it is really an unknown woman who has had a complete facial reconstruction to look like Marie. Then the family lawyer is found dead. Winston is convinced one of the original guests is the killer and invites them all to his apartment to show them that Marie is very much alive!!!
This is a pretty good film with lots of twists and turns. Being a pre- code some of the comments are surprising. Eddie Philips being referred to as Marie's brother's "boyfriend". When Paul Hurst as a bumbling detective looks down at his shoes, realises that they are on the wrong feet and then says "Well, you told me to tail her" everyone laughs!!
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