Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


THE MYSTERY OF THE 13TH GUEST (1943). Director: William Beaudine.

"Your soul must look like the inside of a vinegar bottle."

Marie Morgan (Helen Parrish of First Love) enters her dead uncle's creepy old house where years ago he talked about his will to the gathered relatives, and there she finds an old letter giving the strange stipulations of her inheritance. Not much later Marie is found dead in the house -- until she turns up alive, despite the lookalike body in the morgue. Private eye Speed Dugan (Frank Faylen) and Lt. Burke (Tim Ryan) try to find out who killed whom. Suspects include lawyer Barksdale (Cyril Ring); Marie's brother, Harold (John Duncan of Batman and Robin); Uncle Adam (Paul McVey); and the high-spirited cousin Marjory (Jacqueline Dalya). Faylen is fine, but Ryan offers an especially obnoxious portrayal as the cop. Dalya [Charlie Chan in Rio] is the sauciest thing in the movie and gives the picture most of its limited fun. The old house contains a sinister masked figure as well as a deadly electrified telephone. Full of foolish alleged humor.

Verdict: The very embodiment of the word mediocre. **.

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