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Monday, June 12, 2017

The Amazing Mr. X (aka The Spiritualist) (1948)

A charlatan psychic (Turhan Bey) convinces a wealthy widow (Lynn Bari) that her dead husband (Donald Curtis) is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. But even the fake medium isn't prepared for how far and out of control his plan ends up. One of the last movies directed by Bernard Vorhaus (BURY ME DEAD) before he was blacklisted by HUAC and moved to Europe and eventually gave up the film business. This is one of those low budget "B" programmers that gets by on style and atmosphere, due in no small part to the contribution of cinematographer John Alton (THE BIG COMBO) who invests the film with shadowy interiors and foggy beaches at night. For most of the film, it's a flat out mystery movie until the last 20 minutes when it takes a twist that pushes it into film noir territory. It may be low rent pulp but when it's done with such elevated technique as it is here, there's much to appreciate. Also known as THE SPIRITUALIST. With Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson and Virginia Gregg.

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