Thirteen Women (1932)

73-74 mins | Drama | 16 September 1932

Director:

George Archainbaud

Cinematographer:

Leo Tover

Production Designer:

Carroll Clark

Production Company:

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

In a foreword, the film quotes a statement from Applied Psychology by "Professors Hollingsworth and Hoffenberger of Columbia University" about the power of suggestion. According to RKO inter-department memos, Myrna Loy replaced Zita Johann during the production. Because of Johann's firing and the fact that the script was being written and rewritten during shooting, the film went over budget. British actress Peg Entwistle, who played the role of "Hazel Cousins," committed suicide on 18 Sep 1932 by throwing herself off the "H" of the large "Hollywoodland" sign, located in the Hollywood Hills near the top of Mount Lee, above Beachwood Canyon. Contemporary reviewers commented on the fact that only ten women, not thirteen, were featured in the story. A comparison between onscreen and trade paper cast lists and modern source cast lists suggests that a few characters were edited out of the final film following at least two test screenings. Although modern sources include Phyllis Fraser, Betty Furness and Louis Natheaux in the cast, these actors were not seen in the viewed print. FD news items note that "more than a dozen famous circus acts," including Eddie DeComa, Buster Bartell, Clayton Behee, Eddie Viera and Teddy Mangean were signed to appear in the film. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add that Teddy Mangean was a wire walker, and the rest were trapeze artists. FD also adds James Donlan, Mitchell Harris, Allen Pomeroy and Oscar Smith to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, David Selznick delayed the release of the film in order ... More Less

In a foreword, the film quotes a statement from Applied Psychology by "Professors Hollingsworth and Hoffenberger of Columbia University" about the power of suggestion. According to RKO inter-department memos, Myrna Loy replaced Zita Johann during the production. Because of Johann's firing and the fact that the script was being written and rewritten during shooting, the film went over budget. British actress Peg Entwistle, who played the role of "Hazel Cousins," committed suicide on 18 Sep 1932 by throwing herself off the "H" of the large "Hollywoodland" sign, located in the Hollywood Hills near the top of Mount Lee, above Beachwood Canyon. Contemporary reviewers commented on the fact that only ten women, not thirteen, were featured in the story. A comparison between onscreen and trade paper cast lists and modern source cast lists suggests that a few characters were edited out of the final film following at least two test screenings. Although modern sources include Phyllis Fraser, Betty Furness and Louis Natheaux in the cast, these actors were not seen in the viewed print. FD news items note that "more than a dozen famous circus acts," including Eddie DeComa, Buster Bartell, Clayton Behee, Eddie Viera and Teddy Mangean were signed to appear in the film. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add that Teddy Mangean was a wire walker, and the rest were trapeze artists. FD also adds James Donlan, Mitchell Harris, Allen Pomeroy and Oscar Smith to the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to modern sources, David Selznick delayed the release of the film in order to capitalize on the expected success of Irene Dunne in Universal's 1932 production Back Street . Modern sources add the following cast members: Audrey Scott and Aloha Porter ( Equestriennes ), Cliff Herbert ( Circus act ) and Lee Phelps ( Conductor ). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
8 Jul 32
p. 21.
Film Daily
28 Jul 32
p. 7.
Film Daily
1 Aug 32
p. 6.
Film Daily
15 Oct 32
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 32
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Sep 32
p. 42.
New York Times
15 Oct 32
p. 13.
Variety
18 Oct 32
p. 15.
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 September 1932
Copyright Claimant:
RKO-Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 October 1932
Copyright Number:
LP3298
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73-74
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

After trapeze artist June Raskob receives a letter from Swami Yogodachi in which he predicts that her sister May will soon die, she becomes so obsessed with fear that she allows May to fall to her death during their circus act. Later, Hazel Cousins, a friend of the now insane June and a fellow member of the exclusive St. Albans Seminary alumnae group, who also has received a horoscope, murders her husband just as the Swami had foretold. When another sorority member, Helen Frye, receives a letter in New York warning her that she will commit suicide before Christmas, she contacts group leader Laura Stanhope, who suggests that the remaining women reunite at her home in Beverly Hills. On the train there, Helen meets Ursula Georgi, a half-Indian mystic and St. Albans alumna. Ursula, who had worked for the Swami and had used her considerable hypnotic powers to control and then murder him in order to further her revenge against the group, which had ostracized her at school because of her race, subtly influences Helen to shoot herself that night. At the news of Helen's death, the normally calm Laura begins to fret about her own horoscope, which states that her young son Bobby will meet with a terrible accident on his upcoming birthday. Laura's fears become concrete when she discovers in the nick of time that candy that was sent anonymously to Bobby is poisoned, and she seeks the aid of police detective Sergeant Clive. After Clive connects Ursula to the Swami and the prior incidents, he sets a trap for her on a train to New York on which he has planted Laura. On ... +


After trapeze artist June Raskob receives a letter from Swami Yogodachi in which he predicts that her sister May will soon die, she becomes so obsessed with fear that she allows May to fall to her death during their circus act. Later, Hazel Cousins, a friend of the now insane June and a fellow member of the exclusive St. Albans Seminary alumnae group, who also has received a horoscope, murders her husband just as the Swami had foretold. When another sorority member, Helen Frye, receives a letter in New York warning her that she will commit suicide before Christmas, she contacts group leader Laura Stanhope, who suggests that the remaining women reunite at her home in Beverly Hills. On the train there, Helen meets Ursula Georgi, a half-Indian mystic and St. Albans alumna. Ursula, who had worked for the Swami and had used her considerable hypnotic powers to control and then murder him in order to further her revenge against the group, which had ostracized her at school because of her race, subtly influences Helen to shoot herself that night. At the news of Helen's death, the normally calm Laura begins to fret about her own horoscope, which states that her young son Bobby will meet with a terrible accident on his upcoming birthday. Laura's fears become concrete when she discovers in the nick of time that candy that was sent anonymously to Bobby is poisoned, and she seeks the aid of police detective Sergeant Clive. After Clive connects Ursula to the Swami and the prior incidents, he sets a trap for her on a train to New York on which he has planted Laura. On the train, Laura almost falls victim to Ursula's hypnosis but is saved by Clive. Trapped by the police, Ursula throws herself from the caboose, thereby fulfilling the Swami's last prediction about her own death. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.