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Roy William Neill
A tough district attorney has been cleaning up the town, and has already imprisoned twelve dangerous criminals. As he is about to name the target for his next investigation, he is murdered in the midst of a crowd. The police have many suspects and hardly any clues, so two reporters decide to investigate for themselves. Written by
The first picture released by the reformed Monogram Pictures Corporation, which was temporarily shelved from 1935-37 when its two owners, Trem Carr and W. Ray Johnston, joined with Mascot Pictures' Nat Levine and another independent studio, Liberty Pictures, to form Republic Pictures with Herbert J. Yates (owner of Consolidated Film Industries, a film processing laboratory) at the old Mack Sennett studio. The partnership held for a year until Carr and Johnston, chafing under the autocratic rule of Yates, left the company in 1937 and reformed Monogram. This is the first of a remarkable 20 features the studio would release that year. Monogram would always remain a low-budget outfit, its product geared for rural audiences and second-run theaters. In 1952 it changed its name to Allied Artists, hoping to erase the low-budget "stigma" associated with Monogram. See more »
"The Thirteenth Man" is a reasonable B-Mystery with a decent plot and enough suspense to keep your attention most of the time. The cast and characters are mostly routine, but Weldon Heyburn does bring some life to the lead role.
The story starts when a tough D.A., who has recently put away 12 of the town's most notorious criminals, announces that he will soon target his 13th man. Before he can do so, he is murdered, and two reporters (Heyburn and Milburn Stone, later of "Gunsmoke") decide to investigate, although there are many possible suspects and few clues. While the production itself is strictly low-budget, the murder mystery plot is not bad, without any big holes, and it keeps you guessing to the end.
Overall, while nothing spectacular, this is probably better than average for a B-Mystery.
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