“Do you think bullets can harm a ghost?”
Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) lost her husband in a car crash two years ago. Now a millionaire widow, she is still suffering from the loss. Still she has been dating Martin Abbott (Richard Carlson), an attorney. He is planning on proposing on their date tonight, but he is running late. Christine decides to walk to Martin’s house so he doesn’t have to pick her up. On the way she meets a stranger. His name is Alexis (Turhan Bey), and he knows more than he should. He says he is a spiritualist and tells her things about her, her late husband, and Martin that surprise her. That night she has a nightmare. Or at least it seems like a nightmare. The window blows open. She hears her late husband’s voice. Items in the room are different. Her engagement ring is gone, replaced by her old wedding band. The picture of her fiancé is replaced by a picture of her dead husband. The spirit of her wedding dress comes from the closet and floats toward her. She faints. Her sister Janet Burke (Cathy O’Donnell) hears her scream. She rushes to the room. Everything is the way it was before. Janet tries to reassure her sister.
The next day Christine goes to see Alexis. She becomes obsessed with him. Hoping for answers. Janet and Martin grow concerned. Convinced that Alexis is a fake they see a private detective named Hoffman (Harry Mendoza). Hoffman use to be a magician himself and knows all the tricks. They send Janet in to try to find proof that Alexis is a con man, but he turns the tables and by the time Janet leaves she is convinced he is real and is half in love with him. Alexis has a partner in his scam. The Faber maid Emily (Virginia Gregg) has been feeding him information on Christine. Alexis has been planning his scam for a long time. But little does he know that someone else is also playing. Someone no one suspected. It’s a cat and mouse game, but who’s the cat, and who’s the mouse?
“The Amazing Mr. X” AKA “The Spiritualist” was released in 1948 and was directed by Bernard Vorhaus. The movie is a horror/thriller and a film noir. Turhan Bey is slick and handsome as the slimy con man. But he is such elegant slime. The film is an amazing combination of genres. All of them done well. Thanks to cinematographer John Alton, the use of light and shadow is like another character in the movie. It’s a ghost story told in whispers. This is what a “B” movie could be in the right hands. Vorhaus and Alton do a wonderful job. Any flaws are immaterial to the overall feel of the movie. If you are a fan of noir or just plain old creepy movies, it would definitely be an excellent addition to your collection.
Unfortunately for us Vorhaus was black-listed. He moved to the UK and continued working on movies. The make-up for the movie was done by three of the Westmore brothers; Ern, Frank and Bud Westmore. Virginia Gregg does the voice of Norman Bates’ mother in “Psycho”.