The Thirteenth Chair (1929 film)

The Thirteenth Chair is a 1929 American pre-Code mystery film directed by Tod Browning. The picture is based on a 1916 play of the same name by Bayard Veiller. It stars Conrad Nagel, Leila Hyams and Margaret Wycherly. The supporting cast features Bela Lugosi, whom Browning would direct as Dracula two years later. The film was one of many released in both a sound film and a silent film version. TCM aired the sound version on August 22, 2019.

The Thirteenth Chair
Film poster
Directed byTod Browning
Produced byTod Browning
Written byElliott J. Clawson
Joseph Farnham
Based onThe Thirteenth Chair
1916 play
by Bayard Veiller
StarringConrad Nagel
Leila Hyams
Bela Lugosi
CinematographyMerritt B. Gerstad
Edited byHarry Reynolds
Distributed byMGM
Release date
  • October 19, 1929 (1929-10-19)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

An earlier version of the film, starring Creighton Hale, was made in 1919 by ACME/ Pathe Exchange, directed by Leonce Perret[1]. In 1937, the film was again remade by MGM, entitled The Thirteenth Chair, starring Elissa Landi and Dame May Whitty.


Inspector Delzante (Bela Lugosi), investigates a pair of murders near a British mansion in Calcutta. Helen O'Neill (Leila Hyams) becomes a chief suspect based on circumstantial evidence. A fake Irish medium, Madame LaGrange (Margaret Wycherly) was called in to try to help solve the first murder.[2]



Margaret Wycherly, who was at one time married to the writer of The Thirteenth Chair play (Bayard Veiller), also appeared in the original 1916 play.

See also


  1. Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 210.ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
  2. "The Thirteenth Chair (1929) - Tod Browning - Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related - AllMovie". Retrieved September 18, 2016.
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