Cast & Crew
J. Farrell Mcdonald
On the eve of her twenty-first birthday, Marie Morgan returns to the house in which she grew up, which has been empty for thirteen years. She has a slip of paper from Barksdale, the executor of her father's estate, which reads "13-13-13." While Marie investigates the sound of footsteps, a scream and a shot are heard. Later, police arrive at the house on the advice of Marie's cabdriver and find her electrocuted body seated at the dinner table. Police investigator Captain Ryan calls in hotshot detective Phil Winston and tells him the story of how years before, Marie's father had announced that his millions would go to the "thirteenth guest" at a family dinner, a person who never arrived, and then died immediately after declaring his intentions. Marie's brother Brad and their friend Jensen verify that Marie's body is in the exact seat that she sat in on the night of her father's death. To everyone's astonishment, the real Marie appears at the house very much alive, and informs them that she was able to hide when she heard the scream and the shot, and then took herself to the police station. The police discover scars on the dead girl that indicate she had facial reconstruction to make her look like Marie. Phil suspects that someone who attended the infamous dinner years before is responsible for the murder. His prime suspect is Barksdale, the executor of the will, until he, too, is killed in the house and placed in his seat at the table. When the Morgan family refuses to cooperate in Phil's investigation, he places them all in jail for safekeeping, but another murder takes place in the house when someone tries to use the phone. Phil and Ryan discover that the phone is made of steel, and the victims have been electrocuted when they pick it up. The man who operated on Leila, Marie's lookalike, informs Phil that Jensen came with Leila and also had surgery. After Phil has the family released from jail, Marie is called to the house by him but is grabbed by a masked man before she can get there. Brad and Phil, meanwhile, arrive and find Jensen at the house. Jensen confesses to being involved in a scheme with Barksdale and Leila to get the combination to the safe containing the inheritance. Although Jensen admits he did try to kill the real Marie, he insists the masked man killed Leila. Phil realizes there are two factions at work and orders the police to smash through a wall, where they find the electrocution contraption. They also find Marie, who has locked the masked man in the safe. The masked man turns out to be her uncle Adams. Marie finds a letter from her father informing her that she is the "thirteenth guest," and that he was making a melodramatic attempt to save her fortune and her life. The letter warns her not to marry into a strange and greedy family as he did. There is no danger of that, however, as Marie and Phil have fallen in love.
J. Farrell Mcdonald
Lyle Talbot says "damn" in this film, marking the first time the word is used in a major studio film. This is a full seven years before Clark Gable didn't give a damn in _Gone With the Wind (1939)_ .
A modern source notes that this was filmed at RKO-Pathé Studios using RCA sound, and includes the following cast members: Tom London (Detective Carter); Al Bridge (Policeman); Adrienne Dore (Winston's date); Charles Meacham (Marie's father); Isobel LeMall (Marie's mother); Harry Tenbrook (Cab driver); John Ince (John Morgan); Allan Cavan (Wayne Seymour); Henry Hall (Jail sergeant); Tiny Sandford (Mike, Jailer); Kit Guard (Prisoner); Lynton Brent (Prisoner); and Bobby Burns (Photographer). Another modern source credits Balsley & Phillips with sound recording, and notes that moustaches were by Ince of London. Monogram remade this film in 1943 as Mystery of the Thirteenth Guest.