The 1937 Thirteenth Chair was the third film version of the 1919 stage melodrama by Bayard Veiller. Dame Mae Whitty dominates the proceedings as Mme. La Grange, a phony mystic who is on hand when a man is killed during one of her seances. The killing takes place in the home of a provincial British Indian governor, and the victim was a blackmailer whom everyone present had good reason to despise. Complicating matters for Mme. La Grange is the fact that one of the suspects, Nell O'Neill (Madge Evans) is her own daughter. Dissatisfied with the manner in which brusque Scotland Yard inspector Marney (Lewis Stone) is investigating the case, La Grange takes matters in her own hands, stage-managing a second seance so that the guilty party will be frightened into a confession. More slickly produced than the 1929 version of Thirteenth Chair, the remake isn't quite as enjoyable, lacking two vital ingredients: Margaret Wycherly and Bela Lugosi, the earlier version's Mme. LaGrange and Inspector Marney.
by Hal Erickson synopsis