Peril on the Screen:
And just like that....One film screening down. I love the people on Youtube who spend time posting those old black and white movies like the ones I used to see on Saturday/Sunday afternoons--back before DVDs or even the AMC channel were thought of. The first entry for Carl's R.I.P. Reading Event is The Thirteenth Guest (1932) featuring Ginger Rogers and Lyle Talbot, among others.
The story opens with Marie Morgan (Rogers) returning to the family home on the event of her 21st birthday. The house has been abandoned since a dinner party hosted by her father on the occasion of reading his will--a party that ended with his death. She has been advised by Mr. Barksdale, the family lawyer, to visit the house and follow instructions left by her father. As she sits at the dining table remembering that dinner thirteen years ago, she hears a noise and goes into the hallway to investigate. A shot is heard, corpse is found--but electrocuted, not shot--and the mystery is off and running.
This is a fun little B movie. Lots of spooky old house atmosphere, especially at the beginning, and there's the creepy killer scuttling through the shadows and in secret passages (albeit wearing the utterly ridiculous hooded outfit--one movie poster makes it look like Batman--without the bat "ears"--is abducting Ginger Rogers). There's a fair try at plot twists...that don't quite work. I still spotted the culprit. And the comic relief provided by the dim-witted detective is a bit heavy-handed. But the story is fast-paced, fun, and a good way to kick off the R.I.P. Event.