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Greetings, and welcome to VIEWING THE CLASSICS. Here you'll find capsule reviews of vintage movies from the early days of cinema through the 1970s, with a special emphasis on sci-fi, horror, and mystery movies. Be sure to check out the Pages links, where you can find a Film Index of all my reviews, links to the reviews organized by cast members, directors, and other contributors, and links to my reviews of the films of talented young director Joshua Kennedy.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Thirteenth Chair (1937)

Starring Dame May Whitty, Madge Evans, Lewis Stone, Elissa Landi, Thomas Beck
Directed by George B. Seitz
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

After a man is murdered, a police inspector reluctantly agrees to a plan by one of his friends to expose the murderer by inviting the suspects to a seance.

The third filmed version of a stage play by Bayard Veiller, this production brings together a cast featuring several of MGM's contract players, as well as Dame May Whitty, probably best known from her role in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes.  Whitty gives a good performance, and it's interesting to see Henry Daniell in one of his earlier roles, but overall it's not that compelling a mystery, save for a unique twist in the hiding of the murder weapon.  In an interesting side note, Holmes Herbert plays the same role he played in the 1929 filming of the play.  For more on the 1929 version, see Dan Day Jr.'s informative post here.

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