6.4/10
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68 user 29 critic

The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Horror, Thriller | 29 July 1948 (USA)
On the beach one night, Christine Faber, two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul calling out of the surf...then meets a tall dark man, Alexis, who seems to know all about ... See full summary »

Director:

Bernard Vorhaus

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (original story), Muriel Roy Bolton (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Turhan Bey ... Alexis
Lynn Bari ... Christine Faber
Cathy O'Donnell ... Janet Burke
Richard Carlson ... Martin Abbott
Donald Curtis ... Paul Faber
Virginia Gregg ... Emily
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Storyline

On the beach one night, Christine Faber, two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul calling out of the surf...then meets a tall dark man, Alexis, who seems to know all about such things. After more ghostly manifestations, Christine and younger sister Janet become enmeshed in the eerie artifices of Alexis; but he in turn finds himself manipulated into deeper deviltry than he had in mind... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In his eyes, the threat of terror! In his hands, the power to destroy!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carole Landis was originally scheduled to play the part taken by Lynn Bari, but she committed suicide a few days before shooting began. See more »

Goofs

When Martin and the detective break up the séance, Martin explains to Christine that he has investigated her previous husband's (Paul) past. Instead of referring to the previous husband as "Paul", he refers to him as "Martin" (his own character's name). See more »

Quotes

Janet Burke: Alexis, do you think I'd make a good celestial companion?
Alexis: Darling, I think you'd be wonderful!
Janet Burke: And we'd love each other through all eternity?
Alexis: Oh, even longer!
See more »

Connections

Featured in 100 Years of Horror: Ghosts (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne for Piano, Op. 9, no. 1, in B-flat minor
(uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Heard in a flashback sequence about Paul's previous wife
See more »

User Reviews

 
Well FIlmed Occultism Thriller
14 October 2006 | by catherine-71See all my reviews

As others have commented, the cinematography, lighting, set decoration, art direction, special effects, and location footage on this film are far, far above the quality one would normally expect for a B-movie -- and surpass even the level of many A-movies of the time period. Additionally, anyone interested in how subjects such as occultism, seances, mediums, magic, superstition, stage magic, seers, and prophets were treated in the mid 20th century film will certainly wish to see it.

Don't let the silly science-fiction title fool you -- the UK release, as "The Spiritualist", comes much closer to the heart of this story than its silly US title, "The Amazing Mr. X." Plot-wise, the presentation treads a fine line between functioning as a semi-documentary exposure of fraudulent spiritualists (as in the earlier "Mystic Circle Murders" with Betty Compson and Mrs. Harry Houdini), presenting the apparitions "straight" (as in a standard horror film), and leaving the reader guessing as the plot takes one looped turn after another and ends with a detective-noir closure (as in Hitchcok's "Rebecca").

Turhan Bey is wonderfully nuanced as the mystic. He alone makes the movie worth seeking out.

A big tip-of-the-hat should also go the stage magician Harry B. Mendoza for his lovely bit-part work as a detective who used to be a stage magician. Mendoza builds his character's history subtly, rolling a coin for almost a minute before his prestidigitation becomes a subject of discussion, making it look like a mere nervous habit instead of the highly trained feat it really is. Then he begins to produce cigars -- an endless supply of them! -- and during the whole demonstration, he keeps up a constant flow of on-topic plot exposition dialogue. What a wonderful little turn!

All in all, this is a movie that is watchable on many levels and for many reasons. I agree with other commenters that a fully restored version with technical commentary would be well received.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 July 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Spiritualist See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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