On the 13th of each month, I write about a movie whose title contains the number 13.
13 Days to Die) that I've watched for this project, and it's certainly the superior one, not that that's saying much. Like 13 Lead Soldiers, which introduced me to the world of Bulldog Drummond, Room 13 is another movie that's part of a thriving franchise I was previously unaware of. In this case, it's the peculiarly specific world of German adaptations of crime novels by British writer Edgar Wallace; German company Rialto Film produced 32 features based on Wallace novels between 1959 and 1972, and they were apparently a big influence on the development of the Italian giallo genre. You can see a bit of that influence in Room 13, which, like giallos, has far more accomplished style than substance.
notes that many of the Rialto movies took only the barest plot details from Wallace's novels, updating everything else. Not having read Room 13, I can't say what's been changed for the movie, but the plot combines two fairly basic storylines, one a whodunit about a mysterious murderer killing women with a straight razor, and the other about a master criminal plotting a train heist. They come together thanks to Sir Robert Marney (Walter Rilla), an English aristocrat and member of parliament, whose daughter Denise (Karin Dor) is a potential target of both the unknown murderer and the crime boss, Joe Legge (Richard Haussler), who's blackmailing Marney over an unnamed incident in their past.
-- that's private detective Johnny Gray (Joachim Fuchsberger, who starred in many of Rialto's Edgar Wallace movies), whom Marney hires to protect his daughter. Gray is a typical dashing, brilliant and fairly inconsiderate movie P.I., who bulldozes over the other characters (including the actual cops) to solve the case, regardless of how it endangers anyone else. This is a German movie set in London and filmed with German actors, and the version I saw on Amazon Instant was distractingly dubbed into English. That doesn't do any favors to the cheesy, stilted dialogue, which is delivered with maximum disinterest by the anonymous voiceover actors. Dor's performance as the clearly haunted daughter of wealth is actually quite evocative at times, but the dubbing removes most of its potential power.