Movie Review of “Mystery of the 13th Guest”

My wife had a lunch date today with a friend and, since it was somewhat quiet in the house (my daughters were napping), I decided to sit down and watch a movie while eating lunch.

Since my wife wasn’t home, I looked for a classic black and white mystery (something I like but she doesn’t) and ended up settling for the movie ” Mystery of the 13 th Guest. ” This was a film I hadn’t heard of before but it ended up being a pretty decent movie.

The thing that really impressed me about this movie is it did manage to have a very entertaining mystery. Roughly 13 years before, a wealthy, dying man hosted a dinner party for 13 guests. During the party, he gave a letter to his lawyer that was to be read by his 8-year-old niece on her 21 st birthday. However, when the niece ( Helen Parrish ) arrived at his deserted house on her birthday, she is instead caught up in a murder mystery.

What kept the movie interesting is there wasn’t a true suspect who stood out. All the family members (with the exception of her brother, who seemed kind of weak) seemed capable of being murderers. This even included the young woman. And, the film does a good job of keeping the killer a secret until the very end. It even manages to throw out a very believable red herring.

There were a couple things I found I didn’t like about this movie. One of the main ones was the attempts at comedy (especially when it came to the one lazy police officer). This is something I see in a lot of old movies like this and it was probably a generational thing. But, it just didn’t seem to fit what should have been a somewhat somber movie (there were people being murdered, after all).

Also, as much of an effort as the movie makes to point out there were 13 chairs and only 12 guests on several different occasions (leading to a question about who didn’t attend), the answer to that riddle was never revealed. Or, if it was and I missed it, then it still didn’t get the attention it deserved.

Overall though, I thought this movie justified my efforts to find an older film. If you are looking for a good mystery, I recommend taking the time to watch it.

My Grade: 4 stars out of a possible 5.

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