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...
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Although his murdered friend was by all accounts a scoundrel a true "bounder" Edward Wales is determined to trap his killer by staging a seance using a famous medium. Many of the 13 seance ... See full summary »
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Lee J. Cobb
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
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 »
Remake of the 1929 Tod Browning film (which itself was a remake of a 1920 film) about a medium (Dame May Witty) who is brought into try and solve the murder of a man but during the séance another man ends up murdered. Now the detective (Lewis Stone) must try and figure out which person done it. This version of THE THIRTEENTH CHAIR is actually better than the previous one thanks in large part to some nice performances, good direction by George B. Seitz and a good story. If you've seen the 1929 version then you're going to notice that there haven't been too many changes here story-wise but what really makes this one work better is that Seitz does a much better job in the director's chair. Whereas that 1929 version was incredibly flat, this one here actually moves at a very nice pace and there are some effective moments throughout. The séance scenes are also extremely well-done and especially the one where the medium works alone. The opening title card gives Witty a huge credit and she is quite good here. She'll always be best remembered for her role in Hitchcock's THE LADY VANISHES but she's very believable here. The supporting cast is equally good with Stone turning in a fun performance as the detective and we've also got Henry Daniell playing one of the members of the party. Madge Evans, Elissa Landi and Thomas Beck are also good. The story itself has a few questionable moments but it's still effective enough for this type of "B" movie. Fans of this type of murder-mystery should really enjoy this one.
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