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The Spiritualist (1948)

Lynn Bari , Richard Carlson , Bernard Vorhaus  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Amazing Mr. X   -- --
The Amazing Mr. X   -- --

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lynn Bari, Richard Carlson, Virginia Gregg, Cathy O'Donnell, Turhan Bey
  • Directors: Bernard Vorhaus
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • 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 (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CZZZ0O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,966 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Spiritualist" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

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.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing November 25, 2004
Format:DVD
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent thriller that's well worth a look 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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the SONY (Columbia Pictures) 2011 DVD-R release of the film unders its original name, "The Spirtualist", available through Amazon retailers.

"The Spiritualist" is a 1948 thriller-noir film released by Eagle-Lion Films and directed by Bernard Vorhaus, with exquisite cinematography by film and lighting master John Alton. For those unfamiliar with the title, they may recall seeing this little "B" gem under its rerelease title "The Amazing Mr. X". The story tells of a phony spiritualist who preys upon a widow still grieving after two years the loss of her concert pianist husband. The film, Alton's favorite of all his works, is featured prominently in his book on cinematography, "Painting with Light".

The film stars Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, and Richard Carlson. (As other posts under the public domain title "The Amazing Mr. X" reveal, actress Carole Landis was originally hired by producer Benjamin Stoloff and director Vorhous to play the lead female role, but Landis committed suicide a few days before shooting began. The part was eventually given to Bari.)

Unfortunately, this little-known classic has languished in public domain-hell for many years, available only on VHS and DVD from abysmally inferior prints, marring the craftsmanship of cinematographer Alton. My efforts to find the consummate version always failed to live up to my hopes and expectations. This release, by SONY in the DVD-R format and under the film's original title, finally restores this film to its proper status as a true contender among the film noir classics.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Atmosphere film
I did not know what to expect from this movie, however after watching it I just Love it . Very moody fim with nice atmosphere and feel. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jerry G
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
Such an incredibly beautiful print after all this time. Do not throw money away on any other edition. I will still have to hold on to my VCI version for the commentary, though. Read more
Published 5 months ago by larryj1
5.0 out of 5 stars Prognosticating Prestidigitator...
Phony psychic, Alexis (Turhan Bey) finds himself in the middle of something quite beyond his "abilities" when his scamming ways lead him into what just might be an actual... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bindy Sue Frřnkünschtein
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but slow
Not riveting, but there is nice camera work and scenery. It is always nice to see cars and clothing styles from former eras.
Published 10 months ago by gilbert richmond
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
This is a little known movie and is a wonderful mystery. I would recommend it any old time movie buff.
Published 12 months ago by R. Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Sony's "The Spiritualist" DVD-R is the version to buy!
"The Spiritualist" aka "The Amazing Mr. X" is a film from cinematographer John Alton. This review is strictly a recommendation to purchase the SPHE (Sony) DVD-R version through... Read more
Published on September 8, 2011 by GL
5.0 out of 5 stars One great release, the others awful!
The Spiritualist
Make sure you get the release above of The Spiritualist by SPHE (Sony) March 4, 2011. Read more
Published on August 6, 2011 by Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY!!! A release of this film worthy of purchasing...
"The Spiritualist" is a 1948 thriller-noir film released by Eagle-Lion Films and directed by Bernard Vorhaus, with exquisite cinematography by film and lighting master John Alton. Read more
Published on February 12, 2011 by G. Alan Hicks
4.0 out of 5 stars Moody photography & a couple of great performances lift this otherwise...
First of all, let me tell you that this Image disc is nothing special, quality-wise - there don't seem to be any top-notch prints of this film around - and you might be better off... Read more
Published on July 10, 2010 by Muzzlehatch
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent flawless movie
I wish I could give this movie 10 stars! It is so suspenseful and intriguing.

The Picture is a B
The Sound is a B
Published on May 7, 2010 by J. Smith
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