Monday, January 28, 2013

Thirteen Women

Warners drama from 1932. Story: woman (Myrna Loy) takes revenge on former schoolmates who kept her out of their sorority.

-Viewing date: 1/5/2013 (Sovereign premiere)
-Not as atmospheric as the art on dvd case would suggest.  Michael Curtiz was probably the only director on the lot at the time who could have managed a darker, more European style.
-Based on a best-selling novel by Tiffany Thayer. Thayer was a hack and from an excerpt I've read the book must be a lurid mess, so it says something to the screenwriter's credit that a good movie could come out of it.
-The idea of murder through suggestion is probably the most interesting element taken from the novel.  Thayer was the co-founder (along with Theodore Drieser) of the Fortean Society, a group that promoted the ideas of anomalist Charles Fort, who wrote about 'damned' facts of strange phenomena.
-This movie was before The Thin Man, so Myrna Loy plays the role she was specializing in at the time: the mysterious Asian.
-And Loy looks remarkably like Indian superstar Ashwariya Rai, which is fitting in this movie since she's playing an Indian.
-This was Peg Entwistle's only movie. The day the film was released, she committed suicide by jumping from the H of the Hollywood sign.
-Apparently, two of the thirteen women (including Betty Furness) were cut from the movie, but unless you're counting you won't notice.
-Unusually, the plot revolves around racism.  Loy's Ursula is a 'half-caste' whose attempts to pass as white were thwarted when she attempted to join the sorority.  When her motivation is revealed, the other characters are seen in a different light.  Except for Irenne Dunne's character, whose apology essentially brings the killing spree to an end,  the women are all weak-willed and ultimately unsympathetic. 

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