Sunday, 4 January 2009


Thirteen women who have remained friends since their college days receive forwarnings of violent death from a Swami fortune teller. When more than one of his predictions comes true, including the death of the Swami himelf it seems that supernatural forces are at work. But is all as it seems. At least one of the women and a sceptical detective think not. Director George Archinbaud wisely keeps the pace of this mystery slower than one might have expected but, for once, this seems to work very well and several of the scenes achieve a real, almost dream-like intensity - notably the death of the Swami in the Subway and a suicide on a train. The mood is enhanced by the perfectly judged performance by the young Myrna Loy as the Swami's sinister assistant - as deliberately paced as was Karloff in THE MUMMY (and I mean that stylistic comparison quite seriously). I liked it a lot and will certainly watch it again. The film, of course has its own secure place in Hollywood legend, being the only film appearance of Peg Entwhistle. Rating ***

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

As you know, THIRTEEN WOMEN is a long time fave of mine and I'm certainly glad you liked it. It's one of those early 30's movies particular to that time which was never really seen again before or since. It's easy to see why Myrna Loy's early career was filled with usually portraying Asian femmes fatales (one need only think of her showstopping performance in THE MASK OF FU MANCHU) and THIRTEEN WOMEN features another great one; her seething wrath towards the anglo women who snubbed her rockets right off the screen. I also quite like the frantic performance of Irene Dunne who really puts over the feeling of insidious threat to her young son caused by Loy's character. And then we have the pre-code period which lends you to believe that something actually COULD happen and probably will. Not a bad little car chase at the end either!