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The Amazing Mr. X (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • The Amazing Mr. X (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review



    The Amazing Mr. X (The Film Detective) Blu-ray Review
    Released by: The Film Detective
    Released on: October 26th, 2021.
    Director: Bernard Vorhaus
    Cast: Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, Richard Carlson
    Year: 1948
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    The Amazing Mr. X - Movie Review:

    Bernard Vorhaus' 1948 thriller The Amazing Mr. X stars actor Turhan Beyas a man named Alexis who makes decent living for himself as a spiritualist. Claiming to have the ability to communicate with the dead, he manages to get close to a recently widowed woman named Christine (Lynn Bari), who lost her husband Paul (Donald Curtis) two years ago when he passed away in a fatal car accident. Christine is hopeful that Alexis will use his abilities to contact Paul on her behalf, although she's tragically unaware of the fact that Alexis is a bit of a fraud.

    Regardless, a man named Martin Abbott (Richard Carlson) would love nothing more than to make Christine his wife now that a few years have passed, but she's just not over losing Paul and frequently hears him call to her late at night in the home they once shared together.

    When Christine's sister, Janet (Cathy O'Donnell) and, and Richard learn that she and Alexis have been conducted a seance or two, they figure he's out to swindle her substantial estate. Janet decides to play pretend and pay Alexis a visit herself, but upon doing so, finds herself falling for him, leaving it up to Richard to prove Alexis the fraud he knows he is.

    Beautifully shot by cinematographer John Alton, The Amazing Mr. X is a lot more atmospheric and compelling then its hyperbolic title would suggest. Vorhaus' direction is slick and stylish with an emphasis on suspense and mood, but never at the cost of the film's pacing, which remains fairly brisk from start to finish. The black and white camera work is wonderfully shadowy and some interesting (and effective) old school effects work adds to the movie's considerable visual charms. On top of that, the score from Alexander Laszlo is also very strong and, again, adds to the picture's positive qualities.

    The cast is also really solid. Turhan Beyas is the perfect choice to play Alexis, he's a little on the shifty side to be sure but at the same time, more than charming enough that we can see how he suckers people in and gets them to buy his shtick. He does great work here and the movie wouldn't be the same without him in the lead. Lynn Bari is a stone cold fox with the acting chops to match her good looks, handling the role with no problems and creating an interesting, and often times very sympathetic, character while she does it. Supporting work from Curtis, Carlson and O'Donnell is also pretty strong.

    The Amazing Mr. X - Blu-ray Review:

    The Amazing Mr. X arrives on Blu-ray from The Film Detective on a 25GB region free disc with the feature taking up 16.3GBs of space on the 25GB disc and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and taken from a new 4k scan of “original 35mm elements” (Wade Williams' print). Once again, this transfer from Film Detective uses an outdated MPEG-2 encode which is likely the cause of the minor compression issues that pop up here and there, but despite that it looks decent. Sometimes the contrast looks a little warm, but then in other scenes the black look really nice, the whites clean with a nice greyscale filling in the blanks. The image is very clean, showing only occasional, tiny instances of print damage while retaining the natural film grain you'd want it to. The framing looks good and there's nice depth and detail here as well, except in the scenes where some intentional diffusion is used for effect.

    Audio for the feature is handled by an English language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, with optional subtitles offered in English and Spanish. The audio quality is just fine for an older low budget film. The track is balanced well, and the dialogue is always clean and easy to follow. There's a bit of depth to the score that you might not expect, and the track is, thankfully, free of any hiss, distortion of sibilance.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary by Professor and Film Scholar Jason A. Ney covers the key cast and crew members with a lot of emphasis put on the interesting careers of Turhan Bey and John Alton. It also goes over some of the ideas that the film exploits, the cinematography, Bernard Vorhaus' career and a lot more. It's interesting stuff and very well done.

    The disc also includes a twenty-minute featurette entitled Mysteries Exposed: Insde the Cinematic World of Spiritualism from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures. This is comprised primarily of interviews with author Lisa Morton (who wrote Calling All Spirits: A History of Seances) and author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner. This goes over how and why the spiritualism craze swept The United States and other countries in the wake of the Second World War and how it had an effect on society at the time.

    Also worth mentioning is that inside the case alongside the disc is a collector's booklet with a gallery of great black and white archival images and liner notes by Full Color Booklet with an essay by Don Stradley that documents the history of the picture and which are very much worth taking the time to read.

    The Amazing Mr. X - The Final Word:

    The Amazing Mr. X is a really entertaining and engrossing thriller that does a great job of exploiting its interesting premise thanks to good acting, strong direction and really impressive cinematography. Despite the wonky encoding The Film Detective's Blu-ray looks pretty solid and it also offers good audio and a couple of nice extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Amazing Mr. X Blu-ray screen caps!





























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