29 August 2014

Thirteen Women (1932)
73 min.
Directed by George Archainbaud.
With Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Ricardo Cortez, Jill Esmond, Mary Duncan, Kay Johnson, Florence Eldridge, C. Henry Gordon, Peg Entwistle, Harriet Hagman.
Using the power of suggestion - and by manipulating a swami’s horoscopes - half-caste Ursula Georgi (Myrna Loy) seeks revenge against 13 of her former schoolmates.

The reason?

The girls belonged to a sorority of snobs who forced Ursula out of a private school some years earlier, where she had tried to “pass” for white.

But Ursula isn't one to forgive and forget. She'll have her revenge, even if it means destroying her enemies....one by one!

A darkly interesting premise dealing with the consequences of racial discrimination, Thirteen Women effectively employs the plot device of retribution that would become a staple of the slasher genre some 50 years later.

Simply check out the scene in which Loy crosses out the photos of her victims…straight out of 1980’s Prom Night!

Lean and mean, with a wonderfully intense performance from Loy, who found herself consistently cast in a variety of exotic roles before her breakthrough in the Thin Man series beginning in 1934.

Both she and Dunne would go on to become two of the biggest stars of the 1930s, but their work in this minor David O. Selznick production is fun to watch.

Based on a novel by Tiffany Thayer.

Tragic trivia: Actress Peg Entwistle (who appears in her only screen role) committed suicide shortly before the movie’s release by jumping off the iconic Hollywood Hills sign.

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