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, ...
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Eight strangers are invited by a mysterious unknown host to spend the night in a penthouse apartment. The eight (5 men, 3 women) are wined, dined, then greeted by their host's voice via a ... See full summary »
Roy William Neill
An eccentric millionaire, unable to locate his only granddaughter, decides to divide his estate among a group of people less close to him: his niece and nephew, his attorney, his doctor, ... See full summary »
The relatives of a rich old woman unsuccessfully try to have her declared insane, so they can divide up her money. To show them that there are no hard feelings, she invites them to her ... 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>
The earliest documented telecasts of this film took place in New York City Sunday 18 April 1948 on WCBS (Channel 2) and in Los Angeles Sunday 20 November 1949 on KFI (Channel 9). See more »
In the first scene when the detective is called, his hand picks up the phone and he says he's not interested in the case and hangs up. When it rings again, a woman's hand picks up the phone and gives the time. It is Ginger Rogers' voice, though she and the detective haven't met yet. See more »
A hand on a disembodied arm grasps the center of each title card and pulls it down to reveal the next card. See more »
A young woman named Marie Morgan (Ginger Rogers) arrives at night at a presumably vacant old house, and is quickly murdered by person unknown. A private detective named Phil Winston (Lyle Talbot) proceeds to investigate, with the help of an annoyingly grumpy cop and his bumbling sidekick.
As the whodunit plot moves along, various characters reveal the backstory, involving a rich old man who invites thirteen guests to a dinner party at which time he will announce who inherits his estate; problem is the old man dies at the dinner without revealing his secret.
The main problem is a script that is so convoluted that it's almost impossible to figure out the puzzle's solution. Once known, the solution is not remotely believable, and there are significant plot holes. Still, there's enough suspense to keep the viewer watching despite a substandard script. Dialogue comes across as stiff and stilted at times but there are a few good lines.
Before the killer's identity is known, this person appears in a few scenes wearing bizarre garb that covers his/her body completely; the costume makes the person look a little like spider man. The film's prod design is cheap looking. Most of the action takes place indoors and mostly at night.
Casting is acceptable except for the presence of Lyle Talbot who just doesn't have the mystery persona of someone like Sidney Toler or Warner Oland. Indeed, if the film had been made as a Charlie Chan thriller, I think it would have been better.
For all its faults, "The Thirteenth Guest" is worth watching once, owing to adequate suspense in a spooky old house with hidden rooms and a masked killer. Overall, it's an average whodunit for the era in which it was made.
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