Thirteen Women - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Thirteen Women Reviews

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2017
Campy and entertaining, there are flashes of brilliance here: tight shots on Loy, made up as an evil Indian mystic bent on getting revenge against her old classmates, some scenes where tension is built up rather nicely (I won't spoil them), and even a car chase scene, 1932-style. You'll have to suspend disbelief over the concept that the mind can be controlled by another via 'waves', but that's part of the fun. Loy's motivation is revealed towards the end as she confronts Irene Dunne, and it reveals the racial climate of the times: as a "half-caste Indian half-breed", she was not allowed to "pass" as white in a sorority. As she explains it, for half-breed men this meant being a coolie, and for a woman, she simply shrugs, implying prostitution. As with many films treating race relations at the time, it has a mixed message, on the one hand, pointing out the unfairness of the sorority (and how racist its rules were), and on the other, elevating fears of violence by non-Caucasians. It's interesting that the film has quite a bit of the framework of the modern thriller in it, but it's not fleshed out as much as it ideally would have been, and seems abrupt in places. Finding out that the original release was 14 minutes longer could explain that, but I have to review it for what survives. You could do worse, and it's actually kind of a fun movie. Oh, and last point - interesting to see Peg Entwistle in her only credited screen role, before jumping from the 'H' in the Hollywood(land) sign in despair. Watch for her character 'Hazel' early on.
May 1, 2015
In genre terms it's crazy that this movie came out in 1932. It's basically the idea of And Then There Were None and Slasher films but predates it all. Other than that it's racist against Asian people and boring. The only watchable things really were the little boy actor and Myrna Loy's face.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2014
Silly junk, wildly dated that was one of Myrna's final villainess Eurasian roles. She looks great but is far better than the part deserves.
½ June 15, 2013
Passable entertainment, Myrna Loy stands out.
April 23, 2012
peg entwistle </3.
½ February 24, 2012
The premise is good and maybe relevant, and Loy looks great as a "half-breed Hindu-Japanese something." But the script and acting are too stagy, and a handful of starburst wipes aren't enough to give this the visual flair it could have used.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2012
Thirteen former sorority sisters start to receive, one by one, a horoscope prophesizing their doom from a renowned swami. When the prophecies begin to play out, the remaining few gather to fight their destiny. It turns out Myrna Loy attended their college but wasn't accepted into the sorority because she was a half-caste Hindu. It's Loy who is behind the letters, having influenced the swami with her mind powers, and she's out for bloody revenge on the girls who shunned her.
Sounds like the plot of an eighties slasher like "House On Sorority Row" right? Wrong, this was made in 1932, taking advantage of that small window before the Hays Code shut the party down. I can't say if the makers of the "Final Destination" series were influenced by this but the theme of trying to escape your fate is very similar. The opening scene involving a trapeze act feels like a thirties precursor to the set pieces of that franchise. There's an effective scene on a subway platform, Archainbaud ratcheting up the tension by exaggerating the sound of the station turnstiles.
Hollywood wasn't known for raising the issue of racism in the early thirties so the motives of Loy are quite a curiosity. Tellingly though she isn't portrayed with any of the sympathy such a character would evoke in a contemporary movie. Likewise the mention of a miscarriage feels pretty heavy compared to the general frothiness of thirties cinema. One of the women implies a promiscuous nature which will be a bit of a shock if you're not familiar with pre-code cinema.
Irene Dunne plays a single mother, trying to stop Loy from claiming the life of her son. How often do we see a single mother as the heroine of a movie now let alone back then? Male audiences may have found this early feminism uncomfortable. In his review at the time, New York Times critic Mordaunt Hall noted "an uncomfortable absence of hearty male chatter in this demoniacal intrigue".
Several characters meet their fate through suicide, a topic that immediately became taboo once the code was introduced. In possibly the first creepy offscreen coincidence surrounding the production of a horror movie, star Peg Entwistle ended her life on the day of the film's release. Dramatically, she threw herself from atop the letter H on the famous Hollywood sign.
It may be creaky even for it's era but it's a nice little curiosity piece and an interesting foreshadowing of the slashers that would appear almost half a century later.
October 9, 2011
None of the reviews mention Peg Entwistle, except for one. Peg Entwistle was an actress who had a couple of roles. This was her last film. She was saddened by the poor reviews of the movie, as well as the reduced screen time of her, she jumped off the Hollywood sign, killing herself. I'll watch this movie just to see her.
½ December 13, 2010
The film stars Myrna Loy in an early turn as a vengeful former classmate of the women in question, and for what it is, it's pretty watchable, though I dunno how often I would return to it, as I prefer to see her in comedies.

Worth a look (she's always gorgeous), though might not be what you're used to if (like me) you mainly know her from the Thin Man material.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
If you're someone who enjoys movies where women sit around and gossip and get divorces from their husbands, you'll like this movie, but if you're like me and want more from a movie look elsewhere. Overall, this movie is okay, but it's long and it gets annoying listening to the women gossip for scene after scene.
July 27, 2010
Watchable junk; one of the first talkie revenge stories.
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2010
An early thriller with Loy playing a sinister killer out for revenge from wrongs she suffered from sorority girls. This is the first Loy movie I've seen playing such a character, and although she did a great job; I like her better in more light-hearted type roles. Was this the inspiration for slasher films to come?
½ March 26, 2010
Is this movie thrilling? No. Well written? No. Well acted, directed? No. Then why the heck should you waste your time watching this flick? Because this will be your only chance to see Peg Entwistle. Who? You know, the first person to jump to her death from the Hollywood(land) sign. Typical Hollywood story: Girl goes to Hollywood to become actress, lands one small part in a Grade Z film, jumps to her death from the side of a cliff, has an offer in her mailbox for a broadway show the next day. Typical.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2009
A young lady, described as 'half Hindu and half Chinese' but looks like neither, is made to feel unwelcome at her all-girl finishing school by her white classmates. Years later her classmates, through a series of chain-letters, send away to a 'swami' for their horoscopes. As fate would have it, the 'half-breed' girl now works for the swami and she devises a plan for revenge that involves hypnosis, the power of suggestion, and some poison chocolate.
½ January 31, 2009
Very fast-paced and entertaining thriller with Myrna Loy seeking revenge on her former schoolmates. Good stuff.
June 29, 2008
Myrna as a half-caste serial killer, knocking off the girls who were mean to her at private school one-by-one. Sign me up.
½ February 1, 2008
This film has a good cast (Myrna Loy, Irene Dunne) and also has the only screen appearance of the Hollywood Sign Girl, Peg Entwhistle. The plot is ecch, and a lot of the performances are overwrought. Has some moments, but not many.
½ January 7, 2008
An interesting picture of a vengeful Loy using horoscopes to kill off women who treated her badly when she was younger. A well done stunt in a subway and the only credited Hollywood performance of Peg Entwistle are bonuses.
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