The Spiritualist (The Amazing Mr. X, 1948)

US Columbia Pictures 2010 edition DVD

Who's Calling?

Text below written 2016-11-02


A Film Noir B movie gem. Great stuff. Noir - Melodrama - Crime - Thriller with a nice surprise twist, the charismatic
Turhan Bey as a psychic, the beautiful B-movie actress Lynn Bari and photographed by the Master John Alton.
Yes, it's a ghost story too and with some Rebecca vibes to it (Rebecca, the famous 1938 novel by Daphne du Maurier
and filmed in 1940 by Alfred Hitchcock in an even more famous film).

I've wanted to see this film for many years now due to it's almost cult status and i've tried watching it on Youtube, but
the picture quality has been too abominable and i didn't want my film watching experience to be ruined by a blurry pic.
So, i was much pleased when i heard about this fine Sony Pictures - Columbia Pictures DVD edition from 2010.
I'm not sure if this B movie gem is also, like so many else, an Archive Collection release or not, but cudos anyway for
releasing it ... finally, and mastered from 35 mm elements.

Lynn Bari in Fright

The rich widow Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) lives in a luxurious villa on a cliff overlooking the sea and at night she hear
her name being called, or is it the wind? It sounds like her dead husband Paul (Donald Curtis) is calling her to join him
- Chri ... ssss ... tiiine. He died 2 years ago and now she lives with her younger sister Janet (Cathy O'Donnell) in the big
house, and with Vivian the maid to help them. Christine has got a new boyfriend in the neighbour, the lawyer Martin Abbott
(Richard Carlson) but she's getting more and more distressed by the nightly hissing calls - Chri ... ssss ... tiiine, and
everything in the house reminds her of Paul. So, even though Martin has proposed to the beautiful widow, he could be in
for a long wait for that to happen. There are some ghostly stuff going on in the Faber mansion.

One night on the beach Christine meets a strange man dressed in a tuxedo and with a tame Raven (or Crow? Crows may
be all black in the US as they're in continental Europe and in Australia. Nordic crows are grey and black though).
OK, here i will write a looong diversion about the color and size of Crows. Part One. The Australian Crow is ......

No, just kidding. The man in tuxedo says he's a psychic and that he's seen her husband on the other side. He's Alexis, The
Spiritualist and Christine starts visiting his office and also starts reading books on the para-psychological subject.
At home things worsen with the spookery and Paul playing Chopin on the piano can be heard through the house and
photographs shift places. Martin have to wait being married to her as she's on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Already early on in the film we get to know that Alexis services are pure fraud, and rich old ladies are his favourite prey.

Christine, The Rich Widow

Enough with this nonsense! Says Martin and hires a detective (played by magician Harry Mendoza) to look into the back-
ground of Alexis, and not surprisingly he's a con artist. Martin and the detective show up at Alexis after a fake seance with
the Faber sisters and they force him to hold another seance with them attending. Now let's see!
And a TWIST is coming .... The fake seance ends in a surprising way.

Turhan Bey is great as the fake psychic, Lynn Bari is good and John Alton's cinematography gives a haunting Noir look.
It twists and turns and The Spiritualist/The Amazing Mr. X is one of the most enjoyable Film Noirs i've seen for a long time.
Isn't it great, when you thought you've seen most about everything in the genre, a gem like this turns up.
:3 fullscreen original ratio, black & white, english audio mono, no extras

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