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The Spiritualist

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Turhan Bey (The Mummy's Tomb) plays the mysterious spiritualist who convinces a beautiful widow (Lynn Bari, Orchestra Wives) and her young sister (Cathy O'Donnell, They Live By Night), that her dead husband is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. Richly photographed by famed cinematographer John Alton (Border Incident and The Big Combo), the dark, smoky interiors and fog-swept beaches give this a gothic feel that elevates this B-picture to a favorite of noir fans. Co-starring Richard Carlson, Donald Curtis and Virginia Gregg, with stylish direction by Bernard Vorhaus (Bury Me Dead); sadly, this was one of his last films in the U.S. before being blacklisted. Also known as THE AMAZING MR. X, this is the first and only DVD release of this film mastered from original 35mm elements. Newly remastered.

This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

This product is expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lynn Bari, Richard Carlson, Virginia Gregg, Cathy O'Donnell, Turhan Bey
  • Directors: Bernard Vorhaus
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: SPHE
  • DVD Release Date: March 4, 2011
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CZZZ0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,041 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Spiritualist" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on November 25, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The wind howls and waves crash on a dark, sandy shore. The background music swells, underscoring the furiously subdued passion of the beautiful woman, clad in a foaming white gown, who hears her deceased husband call her name from beyond the sea. She is startled when she meets a suave and well-dressed stranger, and his pet raven, on the turbulent beach.

Thanks to the taut direction of Bernard Vorhaus (who would emigrate to England and retire in 1953 after being blacklisted by Hollywood); across the board fine acting (including Cathy O'Donnell, who earlier was blacklisted by Samuel Goldwyn after marrying the brother of William Wyler, with whom he was feuding); and especially the moody cinematography of John Alton (who would win an Academy Award for Color Cinematography for AN AMERICAN IN PARIS,) this low-budget thriller, THE AMAZING MR X, is rather amazing, indeed.

I scribbled "should have been Peter Lorre" during Turhan Bey's first scene. Bey plays the Spiritualist - a vaguely sinister, vaguely continental rogue who, most of the time, shares the frame with his big, black, pet raven. Your typical Lorre role. So it was with some trepidation that I left the very entertaining early scene that chronicled Bey and widow Lynn Bari's initial encounter. These movies almost always stumble somewhere - a `humorous' character who isn't funny, and/or a threatening character who, unfortunately, is.

Bey, who I've never seen before, is perfectly cast. He may not be as skilled an actor, but even someone as prodigiously talented as Lorre would have had a hard time playing a romantic character. With the movie forcing little sister O'Connell to gush some tough puppy love at the Spiritualist, with the handsome Bey in the lead role credibility is maintained.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve Miller on September 25, 2005
Format: DVD
Just as greiving widow Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) is about to put the tragic death of her husband behind her and move on with her life, she starts hearing his voice on the wind... his restless spirit has returned to haunt her! In a fortuitous coincidence, Christine meets Alexis (Turhan Bey), a psychic who offers to help her contact her husband's spirit and perhaps put it to rest.

Christine's younger sister (Cathy O'Donnell) and Christine's would-be new paramour thinks that the meeting with Alexis was too fortuitous, and they suspect that perhaps he is part of a scam to defraud the emotionally frail Christine of her inheritance. They secure the services of a magician turned private eye who specializes in debuniking phoney mediums and set about to expose Alexis for the fraud he is. However, the haunting continues to grow in intensity. Can it be that Christine's departed husband really is reaching out from beyond and attempting to pull her into a watery grave along side him?

This 1948 B-movie is an excellently made thriller. It is well acted, well filmed, moves briskly, and keeps the viewer engaged with clever plot-twists and a couple of nicely done double-reversals of expectations. There are films with perhas ten times the budget of "The Amazing Mr. X" that aren't half as successful at telling the kind of story that this film features--which, I admit, was pretty well-worn even in 1948. That said, modern filmmakers trying their hands at thrillers with supernatural overtones would do well to study this work, as it shows exactly how that kind of film is made.

Don't let the cheesy title fool you. This is a top-notch thriller that's well worth a look by any lover of the genre.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 17, 2005
Format: DVD
If you enjoy B movies, gothic noirs and second string actors, you might enjoy this gem. I did.

Christine Faber (Lynn Bari), a rich, beautiful widow who lives in a mansion high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific surf, is a widow of two years still grieving over the death of her husband, whose body was never found. Her younger sister (Cathy O'Donnell) is worried about her and her good friend, (Richard Carlson), who wants to be more than a friend, thinks somehow she has to start living her own life. Then Christine learns of a medium, Alexis (Turhan Bey), the mysterious Mr. X, who has moved near by. Alexis is supposed to do wonders in bringing back the dead, and he seems able to bring up the spirit of Christine's husband at seances for her. But Christine also hears strange, familiar music late at night in her mansion. The french doors leading to the cliffs mysteriously open. She begins to hear the voice of her dead husband when she's trying to sleep, speaking lovingly to her and urging her to join him on the cliffs.

This movie may be one of the thousands of B movies Hollywood cranked out during the Forties, but it is competently made and moves ahead briskly. There is a twist about two-thirds of the way through that might surprise you. And the climax, a struggle in the dank, dark cellars of the mansion, is very well handled.

Joan Crawford might have been Hollywood's Queen Bee, but Lynn Bari was undoubtedly the queen of the Bs. She was a classy looking woman with a great, rich voice who could handle comedy or mystery, evil or good, with competence. And while probably few people remember Turhan Bey, for a few years he was Hollywood's favorite exotic leading men. That might not be saying a lot, but he made a reasonably successful career of it for a while.

But be warned; the DVD picture is watchable but nothing more.
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