Thirteen Women (1932)

Passed   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery

Thirteen Women (1932) Poster

Ursula plots to murder 12 women with her supernatural powers.


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3 October 2006 | Doylenf
| Interesting little museum piece from 1932...
What struck me first about THIRTEEN WOMEN (just shown on TCM this evening), is the fact that it has a musical score by Max Steiner at a time when early thirties movies seldom used much music on the soundtrack for atmospheric purposes. But here, at least, Max does let loose with some sinuous exotic strains for a few scenes.

The second thing was how beautiful MYRNA LOY photographed, playing a half-caste who is determined to avenge what snobbish sorority sisters did to her in finishing school where she was exiled because she wasn't white. Loy at this stage was still playing these exotic roles, complete with slanting eye make-up--but as a woman with an hypnotic gaze she was quite convincing. C. HENRY GORDON as Yogadachi, the fake Swami, was rather hammy here--whereas five years later he was very effective as a turban-wearing Indian in CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.


IRENE DUNNE is the last of the sorority girls to survive and the last one to be punished by Loy. However, as suspense builds to a climax aboard a speeding train, Loy's plan fails with the police hot on her trail.

The 59 minute running time means that some fifteen minutes were cut from the original release and it shows. The ending is much too abrupt and before you know it "The End" is flashed on the screen. Someone was busy with the scissors on this one, particularly during those final moments.

Would love to see the complete film some day, but I suppose that's not going to happen if the footage hasn't been restored by now. All the performances are rather standard, including RICARDO CORTEZ as the detective who's able to solve the case. FLORENCE ELDRIDGE is almost unrecognizable as one of the women and KAY JOHNSON is a bit over the top as one of the victims who shoots herself.

Summing up: Not bad and certainly worth a watch.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


People talk about Halloween being the daddy of all slashers, and Psycho being the Grandaddy. There's actually a much longer history of slashers in film, going almost all the way back to the the slient era! There's three eras of old school film slashers; the golden age, movies like Fritz Lang's M, and Myrna Loy's 13 Women; and And Then There Were None, which were the original slasher type movies. Then there would be Classic Age Slashers, films from the 1950s and 1960s, like Psycho (1960) and Diabolqiue (1955). which would help create the protype for slashers as well. And then there would be modern slashers, which would start in the late 1960s in Italy with Dario Argento, Mario Bava and the Gallo movies; which would push the envelope for gore in the modern era with movies like Bay of Blood and Last Twitch of the Death Nerve. THe next group of slashers, after Gallo in the 1960s; would Be the American Moden Slashers; starting with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas in 1974; both followed by the seminal classic slasher JOhn Carpenter's Halloween in 1970; and finally Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th in 1980. The period after that would be the post modern slashers, starting with Scream in 1996.


Swami Yogadachi: I've worked this horoscope out five times. It predicts great happiness, but still I'm afraid to send it.
Ursula Georgi: Why, Swami?
Swami Yogadachi: Because I was fatally wrong about June Raskob. Her future was as happy as this one. A week after I wrote her, her sister was dead and ...


After the swami falls in the subway, a passenger train passes by. The bell on top is ringing, but it makes no sound. Perhaps the bell was turned off, like a telephone ringer, because that person does not want to be disturbed.


Plot Summary


Drama | Horror | Mystery

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