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Bernard Vorhaus
Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell
Writing Credits:
Muriel Roy Bolton, Ian McLellan Hunter

A widow believes a psychic can help her communicate with her dead husband.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 78 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 10/26/2021

• Audio Commentary with Film Scholar Jason A. Ney
• “Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism” Featurette
• Booklet


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The Amazing Mr. X [Blu-Ray] (1948)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 2, 2022)

Though most horror of the 1940s opts for a pretty obvious “monster movie” vibe, 1948’s The Amazing Mr. X follows a different path. Here we get a more subtle mix of thriller, terror and noir.

Two years after her husband Paul (Donald Curtis) died in a car crash, wealthy widow Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) continues to miss and mourn him. Nonetheless, she dates Martin Abbott (Richard Carlson), a lawyer who plans to propose to her.

One night Christine believes she hears Paul call to her from the ocean. She soon meets Alexis (Turhan Bey), a mysterious man who claims he can communicate with the dead. This leads Christine on a spooky path, one that winds up with unexpected repercussions for Alexis as well.

If that synopsis primes you for a story more focused on real-world flim-flammery than actual supernatural behavior… well, I’ll offer no overt spoilers, but pat yourself on the back. The movie doesn’t really give us much doubt about the path it will follow, so its “revelations” don’t shock.

Don’t interpret this to mean Amazing provides a wholly predictable tale, for it doesn’t. While we can anticpate some plot twists, the movie comes with enough of a tangled web to keep it engaging.

Indeed, with a tight 78-minute running time, Amazing doesn’t leave a lot of room for fat. It manages to move at a good pace and lack the kind of padding that would slow down the proceedings.

Bey’s slippery lead performance helps matters as well. He possesses just the right mix of charm and apparent sincerity to allow us to accept the way the other characters believe his outlandish claims. Bey turns into arguably the movie’s biggest strength, as a less compelling actor would make the tale hard to swallow.

Nothing about Amazing ever threatens to turn it into a noir classic. Nonetheless, it offers a brisk, taut little thriller that keeps us intrigued the whole way.

Footnote: at one point the movie’s score strongly presages the legendary Jaws theme. I have no idea if this was a coincidence or if John Williams “borrowed” the music, but that little snippet here really does sound like the famed Jaws material.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C/ Bonus B-

The Amazing Mr. X appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not without positives, this felt like a bland presentation.

Some of the problems connected to sharpness, which became inconsistent. While plenty of shots offered appealing accuracy and delineation, more than a few seemed oddly blurry and soft.

I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. However, I noticed some awkward banding at times.

Grain seemed a bit awkward and slightly unnatural. Print flaws remained modest, as only minor specks ever materialized.

Blacks varied. Some dark tones felt dark and dense, while others appeared mushy and wan.

Ups and downs greeted low-light shots as well. Those varied from smooth and clear to murky and muddy. All of this left us with a watchable but spotty image.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack, it seemed blah as well. I got the impression the mix came with a fair amount of noise reduction, and those factors gave the audio a dull tone that took some life out of the material.

That said, dialogue always remained intelligible, if flat. The lines lacked edginess or obvious problems.

Music and effects followed suit, as those gave us restricted dynamics but also came free from distortion. Some pops and clicks occurred, but not often. This became a mediocre soundtrack.

A few extras appear here, and we open with an audio commentary from film historian Jason A. Ney. He offers a running, screen-specific look at genre domains, cast and crew, sets and locations, the “spiritualism” movement, and various production elements.

From start to finish, Ney brings us a more than solid commentary. He covers all the expected subjects and does so in a compelling, engaging manner that makes this chat a delight.

Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism runs 20 minutes, 27 seconds and brings remarks from authors Lisa Morton and C. Courtney Joyner.

“World” covers the rise of spiritualism after various 19th/20th century wars as well as the growth of “mediums”/debunkers, the use of the supernatural in movies and aspects of Amazing Mr. X. The show delivers a good little overview.

Finally, the set also includes a booklet that features photos and an essay from film historian Don Stradley. The booklet concludes the set on a positive note.

A mix of the supernatural and film noir, The Amazing Mr. X offers a clever genre effort. It offers some good twists and becomes a tight little tale. The Blu-ray offers bland picture and audio as well as a few bonus features. The Blu-ray seems lackluster, but I like the movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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