Monday, May 10, 2021

Mystery Monday: Thirteen Women

Mystery Monday: Thirteen Women 

Most folks are familiar with Myrna Loy’s iconic role as Nora Charles, the rich, plucky, and sleuth-wanna-be wife of William Powell’s detective Nick Charles. But Loy had an extensive film career long before she stepped into the fashionable role created by Dashiell Hammett. She appeared in more than forty films, silent and talkies, by the time she appeared at the Eurasian villain Ursula Georgi in Thirteen Women. 
The 1932 film was based on the 1930 best-selling novel by (Mr.) Tiffany Thayer. Made during the pre-code Hollywood era, the movie is a psychological thriller that film scholars claim also contains elements that make it a horror film and a pre-cursor to the slasher sub-genre. 
Pre-code Hollywood was “a period between the adoption of sound in pictures in 1929 and the
enforcement of the Motional Picture Production Code censorship guidelines in mid-1934.” (Wikipedia). The code had been adopted in 1930, but enforcement nearly nonexistent. Films produced during these years either depicted or implied sexual innuendo, romantic and/or sexual interracial relationships, mild profanity, illegal drug use, promiscuity, prostitution, infidelity, abortion, violence, and homosexuality. Villains often profited from their actions, many times without repercussions. In Thirteen Women, the rape of Myrna Loy’s character is alluded to during a conversation. 
Cited as an early “female ensemble” film, the movie is about a group of women who were sorority sisters at an all-girls college. They keep in touch after graduation through a series of round-robin letters. One of the women gets them involved with a clairvoyant swami who mails them each a horoscope indicating their doom. The swami is under the sway of Ursula who had been snubbed at the school because of her mixed-race heritage; behaviors that forced her to leave school. She now desires revenge and manipulates the women into killing themselves or each other. She even manages to influence the swami to kill himself. Ultimately, a showdown comes between Ursula and one of the women, Laura Stanhope, played by Irene Dunne. 
The film was produced by David Selznick (best known for Gone with the Wind and Rebecca) and premiered in October of 1932 in New York City. A month later it was released in LA and a few other cities. The following year saw a limited national release. With the growing popularity of Dunne and Loy, the studio edited out fourteen minutes and re-released the film in 1935 (post-Code).

Have you seen this intriguing movie? Here is a preview clip: Thirteen Women


Murder at Madison Square Garden

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare. 

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit? 

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link:


  1. Myrna Loy and Irene Dunne are two of my favorite actors. I try to view all their films. I have not heard about this one, but, will add it to my list. Thank you for the information.

    1. A lot of people aren't familiar with this one. I hope you enjoy the film.