Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Amazing Mr X|
Actors: Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson, Donald Curtis
Director: Bernard Vorhaus
Genres: Horror, Mystery & Suspense
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A B Movie Gothic Noir, Nicely Done
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Steven Hellerstedt | 11/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. Talented or not, Lorre was severely appearance challenged.
Alton lit and framed it wonderfully - in fact, the whole movie looks great - but there was still that threat posed by the cover art. A turbaned, apple-cheeked Bey grinning mischievously over an illuminated crystal ball. THE AMAZING MR X had `schlock' written all over it. Loud schlock, at that. But this movie is much subtler than its promotional material, or unfortunate title, would lead you to think. It's a fine mystery/thriller, supremely entertaining and even a little thought provoking. This IS that hidden gem fans of old movies are constantly on the lookout for.
THE AMAZING MR X is a virtually flawless movie. Whether flooding blinding light through the Spiritualist's front door or pulling the ceiling into the frame to create a sense of maddening claustrophobia in the young widow's home, the cinematography is brilliant (NB - the transfer print is a little washed out but watchable.) The story is engagingly told and even provides a genuine thrill or two. Overall the acting is competent, Bari is quite good as the haunted widower, and Bey is a real find as the smooth charlatan.
Forgotten Thriller That Deserves To Be Better Remembered.
Simon Davis | 08/06/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again the good people at Image DVD have brought back to life another forgotten gem in the thriller genre that while being not well known is indeed well worth the time. Starring one of my absolute favourite "B" movie villians in talented actor Turhan Bey, who was wonderful as the evil High Priest in 1942's "The Mummy's Tomb"; "The Amazing Mr. X", weaves an intriguing tale of supernatural deception heightened by Bey's assured playing that is really hard to resist. Apart from the strong central performances this admittedly second string production also boasts amazingly high standard cinematography and special effects which give this film a polished "noir", look to it that greatly increases its appeal."
Excellent thriller that's well worth a look
Steve Miller | Renton, WA United States | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.