Monday, July 19, 2010

What is the deadly secret of the 13th guest?

The Thirteenth Guest (aka "Lady Beware") (1932)
Starring: Lyle Talbot, Ginger Rogers, and J. Farrell MacDonald
Director: Albert Ray
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

When Marie (Rogers), the young heiress to the Morgan fortune, is found mysteriously electrocuted in the family manor that has remained sealed since her father died during a dinner party 13 years prior, Police Captain Ryan (MacDonald) calls upon the assistance of playboy criminologist Phil Winston (Talbot) to help solve the baffling murder. Before Winston can even begin to investigate, the mystery takes an even stranger turn: The dead girl turns up alive and in police custody for car theft... and soon there's a second dead body at the old Morgan place.


"The Thirteenth Guest" is a pretty good little mystery movie for most of its running time. The three lead actors all give decent performances that are in line with what is to be expected from one of these "who-dunnit in the dark, old house" mysteries, and the murderer had a fairly clever set-up with which to commit the murder. There are also just enough plausible suspects and clever plot-twists make it real mystery film.

Unfortunately, for every clever twist there's a plot logic-hole that a truck could be driven through. Equally unfortunate is the presence of a truly lame comic relief character. And I won't even dignify the idiotic mask and cape they have the murderer prance around in with comment. (Hang on... did I just comment on the idiotic mask and cape? Curses!)

The good parts outweigh the bad parts--but only barely--in "The Thirteenth Guest." It's not a film I recommend you rush out to find a copy of, but if you're looking around for a little something to round out a "home film-festival" selection of mystery movies, this might be what you're looking for. Just don't make it the main attraction.


1 comment:

  1. Nice; I've been meaning to see this one. Just added it to my Netflix queue.

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