The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

Synopsis:

A wealthy widow, Christine Faber (Lynn Bari, Orchestra Wives), meets “The Amazing Alexis” (Turhan Bey, Arabian Nights), a psychic who claims to have the ability to see past and future events. Christine, who lost her husband in a freak accident, wants Alexis to help her communicate with her late husband.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“Do you think I’d make a good celestial companion?

I went into The Amazing Mr. X thinking that I was about to watch a cheap and silly B-movie and I was treated with an offbeat, atmospheric thriller instead — this is a surprisingly stylish and well-crafted psychological thriller.

The Amazing Mr. X is one of the best clairvoyant movies I’ve seen. The screenplay by Muriel Roy Bolton (My Name Is Julia Ross) and Ian McLellan Hunter (Roman Holiday) is full of twists and turns. Director Bernard Vorhaus (So Young So Bad) does a good job sustaining the suspense — there are no wasted frames in this fun thriller.

The acting in the film is above average. Austrian-born actor Turhan Bey is magnetic as “Mr. X” (it’s unfortunate that Bey retired from acting not long after making this film). Lynn Bari is also good in the leading female role. Bari’s sister in the film is played by Cathy O’Donnell (The Best Years of Our Lives and They Live by Night), an actress I’m fond of — her work is always simple, direct and deeply sincere. Richard Carlson (Creature from the Black Lagoon) plays Bari’s current sweetheart.

The real star of the movie is Oscar-winning cinematographer John Alton (An American in Paris). Alton is widely regarded as a master in his field and for good reasons. Every single shot in The Amazing Mr. X is a careful juxtaposition of lights and shadows. Alton doesn’t care if actors are heard but not seen, which is an attitude that was unheard of at the time the movie was released. The unusual, quirky camera tricks never feel self-indulgent because they fit the odd storyline like a glove.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

I hope I’m not overselling it, but I found this low-budget quasi-noir film more interesting and entertaining than many Oscar-winning films. As I said before, The Amazing Mr. X was shot in a highly imaginative manner — I think it is the type of movie tailor-made for fans of Hollywood’s postwar era. Don’t let the cheap title discourage you — it’s really a good movie! Highly recommended! B&W, 78 minutes, Not Rated.

8 responses to “The Amazing Mr. X (1948)

  1. First rate example of what a “B” movie can bring to the audience. First saw this flick many years ago and revisited it a few times since. It is too bad Turhan called it quits. He had a style and character that the camera liked. Apparently the ladies did too from what I’ve read on the man. Nice to see someone shining the light on this little known gem.

    Liked by 1 person

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