The Amazing Mr. X (1948)
Here is an independent production from Eagle Lion Films that is a low budget gem worth seeking out. Lynn Bari is a grieving widow whose sister Cathy O’Donnell is urging her to move on and re-marry handsome lawyer Richard Carlson. Enter mysterious Turhan Bey as Alexis a psychic consultant. Bari is convinced that her deceased husband is reaching out to her from the great beyond and turns to Bey to help her contact his spirit. O’Donnell and Carlson set out to prove that Bey is a fraud and it appears they just might be right. With ghostly apparitions and music coming from above Bey holds a pretty convincing seance and it gets all the better when someone looking a lot like Bari’s deceased husband makes an appearance much to Bey’s surprise. From here the film takes a surprising yet effective twist in this mystery thriller that includes effective lighting and doors bursting open while winds gust inwards twirling curtains into the air.
Special mention needs to go to the films director Bernard Vorhaus for keeping the film tightly moving along on a limited budget. Notable are the different camera angles he uses that are not commonly seen in this era. Shots like putting a camera in a sink and looking up at Bari and O’Donnell. Kind of like Tarantino looking up at his actor’s from the inside of a car’s trunk. There are also some very eerily lit shots that play havoc on Bari’s psyche.
We even get a solid cast in this low budget effort. Leading lady Lynn Bari (Nocturne) effectively plays a woman haunted by her deceased husbands spirit. Turhan Bey for me will always be a member of the Universal monster pics having played the protector of Kharis in The Mummy’s Tomb. Hard to believe he retired in 1953 only to resurface 40 years later on an episode of Sea Quest! Cathy O’Donnell as Bari’s younger sister smitten with Bey starred opposite Harold Russell in one of the great films of the decade, The Best Years of Our Lives. Lastly sci-fi fans should know who Richard Carlson is due to his appearance in some fifties greats including The Creature From the Black Lagoon.
This film was also released under the title The Spiritualist. Whichever title you find it under, you will find it 78 minutes well spent.