Search - Classic Film Noir Double Feature Vol 3: Amazing Mr. X aka: The Spiritualist & Reign of Terror aka: Black Book on DVD

Classic Film Noir Double Feature Vol 3: Amazing Mr. X aka: The Spiritualist & Reign of Terror aka: Black Book
Classic Film Noir Double Feature Vol 3 Amazing Mr X aka The Spiritualist Reign of Terror aka Black Book
Actors: Turhan Bey, Robert Cummings, Lynn Bari, Richard Basehart, Cathy O Donnell
Director: Bernard Vorhaus;Anthony Mann
Genres: Drama
NR     2009     2hr 45min

Studio: Video Communications Inc. Release Date: 03/31/2009


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Movie Details

Actors: Turhan Bey, Robert Cummings, Lynn Bari, Richard Basehart, Cathy O Donnell
Director: Bernard Vorhaus;Anthony Mann
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/31/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 45min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Mann & Alton: two films now watchable
J. Clark | Virginia | 04/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Anthony Mann's "Reign of Terror" (aka "The Black Book") is a delicious period noir I've been dying to see in a version that doesn't disgrace cinematographer John Alton's black-and-white eye for light and darkness. Mann never made an uninteresting film to watch, and neither did his frequent collaborator Alton. The other film, "Amazing Mr. X" (aka "The Spritualist") is one I was unfamiliar with. More minor in its craft and story (directed by Bernard Vorhaus)--but once again, there's that gorgeous Alton cinematography.

Films from a minor studio like Eagle-Lion are unlikely to be rescued and elevated to demo material, but VCI has done these two justice. They're more than watchable--the versions to beat. Thank you, VCI. And keep up the great job!"
There's a revolution going on. Don't stay out late!
S. Jones | Chicago, IL United States | 04/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This double bill of "B" Noir classics from VCI are well worth a look. While available on DVD elsewhere, VCI has pieced together some fairly decent prints and done a passable job of restoring these two minor classics. (The fly-by-night prints from the other publishers are terrible, get this VCI version).

Tops is Anthony Mann's wonderful retelling of the French Revolution as film noir, with stars Cummings and Dahl doing a wonderful job onscreen.

In the Amazing Dr. X a gothic thriller by director Bernard Vorhes, the real star is cinematographer John Alton who struts his pioneering and moody mastery of shadow and light to the fullest extent.

The extras, including an interview with Arlend Dahl make this a great package for Noir fans from VCI."
"Classic Film Noir (1948/1949) ... Vol. 3 ... VCI Ent (2009)
J. Lovins | Missouri-USA | 05/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"VCI Entertainment presents "CLASSIC FILM NOIR DOUBLE FEATURE VOL.3" --- (1948/1949) (165 min) --- (Dolby digitally remastered) --- Amazing Mr. X and Reign of Terror both titles were originally released by the long-gone British-American outfit Eagle-Lion Films, both were photographed by the brilliant and eccentric John Alton (Cinematographer), one of the seminal stylists of film noir. "It's not what you light," Alton once observed. "It's what you don't light." --- These two films are powerful studies in darkness and shadow, punctured by bright beams of light -- Alton's trademark -- projected from unseen sources somewhere in the background of the deep focus frames --- Alton was a one of a kind cinematographer and it shows.

Our first double feature is "AMAZING MR. X" (29 July 1948) (78 mins/B&W) -- Is a gothic thriller starring the Austrian actor Turhan Bey, who brings all his exotic charm (Turkish father, Czech mother) to the role of a fraudulent psychic consultant attempting to draw a wealthy young widow Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) into his clutches --- On the beach one night, Christine, two years a widow, thinks she hears her late husband Paul (Donald Curtis) 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 (Cathy O'Donnell) become enmeshed in the eerie artifices of Alexis (Turham Bey), but he in turn finds himself manipulated into deeper deviltry than he had in mind --- The plot line allows plenty of opportunities for John Alton (Cinematographer) to strut his stuff: a nocturnal walk along a lonely, wind-swept beach; the halls of a cliff-top mansion, echoing with ghostly music; a memorable séance on a sunny California afternoon, during which ectoplasmic forms emerge thanks to some ingenious work with an optical printer.

Under the production staff of:
Bernard Vorhaus (Director)
Benjamin Stoloff (Producer)
Muriel Roy Bolton (Screenwriter)
Ian McLellan Hunter (Screenwriter)
Crane Wilbur (Screenwriter)
Alexander Laszlo (Original Score)
John Alton (Cinematographer)
Norman Colbert (Film Editor)

the cast includes:
Turhan Bey ... Alexis
Lynn Bari ... Christine Faber
Cathy O'Donnell ... Janet Burke
Richard Carlson ... Martin Abbott
Donald Curtis ... Paul Faber

Second and final film noir is "REIGN OF TERROR" (15 October 1949) (89 mins/B&W) -- The plot starts in France in the year 1794. Robespierre is sowing panic among his opponents with the only reason to take over the power of the state --- a tale of derring-do during the French Revolution --- Robert Cummings and Arlene Dahl are the ostensible leads, former lovers reunited in an attempt to steal a secret notebook containing a list of candidates for the guillotine from Maximilian Robespierre, played with sniffy self-righteousness by Richard Basehart. ("Don't call me Max!") But the scene stealer is the sly supporting actor Arnold Moss, who brings his cultivated baritone and epicene manner to the role of Fouché, the head of Robespierre's secret police --- Standing at the top of a shadowy Menzies staircase, illuminated from behind by the ray of an Alton arc light, he looks down at the lovers and offers some dryly pragmatic, Anthony Mann advice: "There's a revolution going on. Don't stay out late!"

Special footnote -- This film unites John Alton with two other formidable visual stylists, the director Anthony Mann (soon to move on to his famous series of James Stewart westerns) and the production designer William Cameron Menzies. (Menzies, the designer of "Gone with the Wind," is credited here only as a producer, but his hand is unmistakable in the low ceilings and bold geometry of the sets.) --- The collaboration yields an almost unbroken procession of complex, compelling images, which somehow remain largely in the service of the tongue-in-cheek screenplay credited to Aeneas MacKenzie and Philip Yordan --- A real gem for it's time with some great characters that will get under your skin and stay there, wonderful cast with some outstanding direction.

Under the production staff of:
Anthony Mann (Director)
Æneas MacKenzie (Screenwriter)
Philip Yordan (Screenwriter)
Edward Lasker (Associate Producer)
William Cameron Menzies (Producer)
Sol Kaplan (Original Score)
John Alton (Cinematographer)
Fred Allen (Film Editor)
David Sharpe (stunt double: Robert Cummings)

the cast includes:
Robert Cummings ... Charles D'Aubigny
Richard Basehart ... Maximilian Robespierre
Richard Hart ... François Barras
Arlene Dahl ... Madelon
Arnold Moss ... Fouché
Norman Lloyd ... Tallien
Charles McGraw ... Sergeant
Beulah Bondi ... Grandma Blanchard
Jess Barker ... Saint Just
John Doucette ... Pierre Blanchard (farmer)

1. Episode selection
2. Trailers
3. Amazing Mr. X - (Commentary by Jay Fenton)
4. Reign of Terror - (Commentary by Alan Rode)
5. Photo Poster Gallery

Hats off and thanks to Robert Blair and his staff at VCI Entertainment --- VCI was named in Variety and Hollywood Reporter as the first company to produce and release motion pictures directly to the home marketplace --- order your copy now from Amazon or VCI Entertainment where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- VCI are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector -- looking forward to more Nostalgic Collections.

Total Time: 165 mins on DVD ~ VCI Home Video 8554 ~ (03/31/2009)"