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The Thirteenth Chair (1937)

Passed  -  Drama  -  7 May 1937 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 122 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

Inspector Marney of Scotland Yard travels to Calcutta to investigate the murder of Leonard Lee, a generally despised man in these parts. John Wales, who did consider Lee a friend - his best... See full summary »



(screen play), (from the play by)
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Title: The Thirteenth Chair (1937)

The Thirteenth Chair (1937) on IMDb 6.4/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lewis Stone ...
Elissa Landi ...
Helen Trent
Thomas Beck ...
John Wales
Janet Beecher ...
Lady Crosby
Ralph Forbes ...
Holmes Herbert ...
Heather Thatcher ...
Mary Eastwood
Charles Trowbridge ...
Dr. Mason
Robert Coote ...
Elsa Buchanan ...
Miss Stanby
Lal Chand Mehra ...
Professor Feringeea
Neil Fitzgerald ...


Inspector Marney of Scotland Yard travels to Calcutta to investigate the murder of Leonard Lee, a generally despised man in these parts. John Wales, who did consider Lee a friend - his best friend - is a suspect, but he proposes to the Inspector a ploy to discover the identity of the murderer: hold a séance conducted by a medium, Madame Rosalie La Grange. Wales doesn't believe Mme. La Grange will discover the murderer's identity through such hocus pocus, but does believe the process might draw out the murderer in revealing him or herself. Wales invites who he considers suspects - generally those in the upper crust of British society in Calcutta - plus a few red herring attendees so as not to tip the murderer as to the séance's purpose. Upon Mme. La Grange's arrival, she does admit that most of her work is conducted as parlor tricks solely for sheer entertainment, but that when required, she truly does have the ability. As the course of the evening progresses, Mme. La Grange turns from... Written by Huggo

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Release Date:

7 May 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The 13th Chair  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 20 November 1916 and had 328 performances. Margaret Wycherly played the role of Rosalie La Grange, as she also did in the 1929 film version. See more »


Version of The Thirteenth Chair (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the better B-film mysteries exploring device of a seance...
27 September 2006 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

The description of the plot given by TCM on its cable showing of this little MGM movie from 1937 made me want to watch it--something about a woman holding a seance to prove that her daughter is not the murderer and with a setting in Colonial India. Then I saw the cast names: DAME MAY Witty, LEWIS STONE, MADGE EVANS, RALPH FORBES, ROBERT COOTE...and immediately I decided to watch it.

Not disappointed. It's a tidy little mystery, nothing original or approaching the wit and wisdom of Agatha Christite's tales, but interesting nevertheless. Dame May Witty is the protective mother who helps inspector LEWIS STONE solve the case--and, happily for me, it turned out to be someone I suspected all along.

A crisp one hour and six minute programmer from MGM given all the polish one would expect from a major studio. The elaborate sets add the necessary atmosphere, except for the seance itself which is held in total darkness and is just a black blur on the screen during which a voice is heard. This is the only flaw in an otherwise smoothly made B-picture.

Silver-haired gentleman CHARLES TROWBRIDGE is seen in many movies from the '30s and '40s and does a smooth job as Dr. Mason.

Well worth watching.

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