Mystery of the 13th Guest

The Mystery of the 13th Guest is a 1943 American crime/mystery film directed by William Beaudine. It is based on Armitage Trail's 1929 novel The 13th Guest and is an updated version of the 1932 film The Thirteenth Guest. The film stars Helen Parrish as a young woman who returns to her grandfather's house 13 years after his passing to read his will as per his wishes.

Mystery of the 13th Guest
Directed byWilliam Beaudine
Produced byLindsley Parsons
Screenplay by
Based onThe 13th Guest
by Armitage Trail
Music byGlen Glenn
CinematographyMack Stengler
Edited byRichard C. Currier
Distributed byMonogram Pictures
Release date
  • October 5, 1943 (1943-10-05) (New York, United States)
Running time
61 minutes
CountryUnited States


When Marie Morgan (Helen Parrish) was eight years old, she attended a banquet held by her dying grandfather, who disliked everyone in his family except her. That day he instructed her to return to his house upon her twenty-first birthday to read his will alone. Marie arrives at the house, and although it has been vacant for 13 years, the lights and telephone both appear to be working. Marie thinks back to the day her grandfather told her about his will and recalls the seating arrangement. There were twelve guests in attendance, but a thirteenth place to her grandfather's right was empty. Marie presently decides to open the envelope containing the will. Inside is a sheet of paper with the numbers 13-13-13 written with nothing else. Someone suddenly enters the house and a gunshot is heard, and Marie screams.

She next finds herself sitting at the dinner table in the same place as when she was eight, but the doctor pronounces her dead. Police Lt. Burke (Tim Ryan) and Private Investigator Johnny Smith (Dick Purcell) are put on the case, but it is soon revealed that Marie is still alive. Barksdale (Cyril Ring), Marie's attorney who sat to the left of her at the banquet, is found dead in the exact chair he sat in 13 years ago. The detectives conclude that the killer is targeting the guests by where they sat, and therefore the murderer must have been one of the 13 guests.



In comparing it to the 1932 version, Dave Sindelar states that while neither film is excellent, he notes the novelty in the previous film featuring early roles of Ginger Rogers and James Gleason. While he does not find a similar novelty in this version, he admits "it has efficient direction from William Beaudine and the comic relief manage to keep on the right side of annoying."[1]


  1. Sindelar, Dave (July 9, 2007). "The Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)". Fantastic Movie Musings & Ramblings. Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
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