The Amazing Mr. X

The Amazing Mr. X, also known as The Spiritualist, is a 1948 American horror thriller film noir directed by Bernard Vorhaus with cinematography by John Alton. The film tells the story of a phony spiritualist racket. The film is prominently featured in Alton's book on cinematography Painting with Light (1949).

The Amazing Mr. X
(The Spiritualist)
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBernard Vorhaus
Produced byBenjamin Stoloff
Written byCrane Wilbur
Muriel Roy Bolton
Ian McLellan Hunter
StarringTurhan Bey
Lynn Bari
Cathy O'Donnell
Music byAlexander Laszlo
CinematographyJohn Alton
Edited byNorman Colbert
Ben Stoloff Productions
Distributed byEagle-Lion Films
Release date
  • July 29, 1948 (1948-07-29) (United States)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film stars Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari, Cathy O'Donnell, and Richard Carlson. Eagle-Lion Films signed a contract with Carole Landis for the part played by Bari, but Landis committed suicide a few days before shooting began. The film is in the public domain.[1]


Two years after her husband's death, Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) thinks she hears her late husband (Donald Curtis) calling out of the surf on the beach one night. She meets a tall dark man named Alexis (Turhan Bey) who seems to know all about her.

After more ghostly manifestations, Christine and her younger sister (Cathy O'Donnell) become enmeshed in the strange life of Alexis, a spiritualist; but he in turn finds himself manipulated into deeper devilry than he had in mind. Alexis has hired Emily (Virginia Gregg) as Christine's maid to learn secret inside information. Sister Janet checks out Alexis only to fall in love with him. Christine gets engaged to Martin Richard Carlson and he hires a detective (Harry Mendoza) to protect Christine.

Alexis puts on a convincing séance and afterward the real Paul Faber appears. He had faked his own death and now Alexis must continue his con in concert with Paul. Christine hears Paul's voice and falls off a cliff only to be saved by Alexis and Janet. Martin wants Christine to leave her house for safety. Christine wants to hear Paul's voice and his piano music. Janet starts to search the house for speakers and she finds Alexis and the alive Paul. Alexis protects Janet but he is shot. The police arrive and shoot and kill Paul.



The film was known as The Spiritualist.[2] It was an original story by Crane Wilbur and was bought by Producers Releasing Corporation in 1947 with Wilbur to direct.[3][4]

Eventually the project was acquired by Eagle Lion as a vehicle for Turhan Bey who was under contract to the studio.[5] Bernard Vorhaus was to direct and Muriel Bolton to adapt the story into a script.[6] Vorhaus did the film under a two-picture deal he signed with Eagle Lion. The other lead roles went to Lynn Bari and Cathy O'Donnell; the latter was borrowed from Sam Goldwyn.[7]

Crane would go on to become one of Eagle Lion's main writers.[8] Vorhaus later said he was unhappy with the script however and asked for a rewrite. He says producer Ben Stoloff allowed him to hire Ian McLellan Hunter who rewrote the script in a week.[9]

Filming started 5 January 1948. Vorhaus says the shoot went for three weeks.[10]

Bey was under contract to Eagle Lion. He later recalled the film as "a fantastic role with wonderful people to work with and a lovely death scene I completely loused up... I just wish all my roles had been as interesting as that one."[11]

At one stage the film was also known as The Mystic.[12]


At previews, audiences found parts of the film to be funny, resulting in unintended laughter.[13]

Eagle Lion were happy with the film. However when Vorhaus turned down the next movie they offered him, I Married a Communist, the company terminated its association with him.[14]

See also


  1. Sullivan, Monica (1998). VideoHound's independent film guide. Visible Ink Press. pp. 12–13.
  2. Of Local Origin New York Times 2 Feb 1949: 37.
  3. DRAMA AND FILM: Dorothy Patrick May Win Lead in 'Promise' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 26 July 1947: A5.
  4. E.G.ROBINSON SIGNS FOR U-I FILM ROLE New York Times 4 Aug 1947: 14.
  5. Hedda Hopper--LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles Times 29 Nov 1947: 7.
  6. METRO WILL FILM NOVEL BY RENAULT: ' Return to Night,' Book That Won $175,000 Prize, May Be Greer Garson Vehicle By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]02 Dec 1947: 37.
  7. O'DONNELL, BARI IN FILM WITH BEY New York Times 26 Dec 1947: 21.
  8. Crane Wilbur, Star of Silent Films, Carves New Career as Producer: Flicker Star Doing Well as Producer Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 14 Nov 1948: D1.
  9. Vorhaus p 116
  10. Vorhaus p 116
  11. Weaver, Tom (2003). Double Feature Creature Attack: A Monster Merger of Two More Volumes of Classic Interviews. McFarland. p. 81.
  12. Of Local Origin New York Times 6 Mar 1948: 9.
  13. Higham, Charles; Greenberg, Joel (1968). Hollywood in the Forties. London: A. Zwemmer Limited. p. 67. ISBN 0-302-00477-7.
  14. Vorhaus p 119


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