Firstly, a massive thank you to our Patreon supporters. Your generosity touches me deeply. These supporters have become the single biggest contributing factor to the survival of DVDBeaver. Your assistance has become essential.

 

What do Patrons receive, that you don't?

 

1) Our weekly Newsletter sent to your Inbox every Monday morning!
2)
Patron-only Silent Auctions - so far over 30 Out-of-Print titles have moved to deserved, appreciative, hands!
3) Access to over 20,000 unpublished screen captures in lossless high-resolution format!

 

Please consider keeping us in existence with a couple of dollars or more each month (your pocket change!) so we can continue to do our best in giving you timely, thorough reviews, calendar updates and detailed comparisons. Thank you very much.


 

Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


(aka 'The Spiritualist')

Directed by Bernard Vorhaus
USA 1948

An atmospheric masterpiece, The Amazing Mr. X stars Turhan Bey as Alexis, a mystery man who claims to communicate with spirits. Appearing on the beach one night, Alexis easily charms a depressed widow and her sister (Lynn Bari and Cathy O'Donnell). The sly Alexis makes a living by separating gullible people from their money, but before this tale is over he will learn that the living are far more dangerous than the dead. Thanks to exceptional cinematography by John Alton, director Bernard Vorhaus delivers a film that oozes weird passion and sinister suspense. This is a movie that breathes right on your neck!

***

THE AMAZING MR. X is a very misleading title for one of the most haunting and original film noirs ever released. It gives the impression of a diabolical criminal genius on the rampage or perhaps a comedy about a milquetoast with fantastic powers. The movie is neither of these. It's a stunningly beautiful and unpredictable look at the phoney spiritualism racket as well as ghosts both real and imagined. An immediate favorable comparison can be made to the works of Val Lewton. THE AMAZING MR. X straddles the line between Lewton's gothic but plausible horrors and great film noir works like MURDER MY SWEET and OUT OF THE PAST.
Is it a ghost story? A romance? A crime tale? The answer is, it is all of these things and more.

Excerpt of Dr. Mality's review at SciFi Cinema located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 29th, 1948

Reviews                                                              More Reviews                                                    DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

Box Cover

 

 

 

 

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Sony Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:17:54  1:18:00 1:18:15 1:17:54.711
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.56 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.72 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s 
1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.31 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,409,987,458 bytes

Feature: 16,252,078,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: Image Entertainment

Bitrate: VCI

Bitrate: Sony

Bitrate:  Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1558 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1558 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -31dB
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles None None None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• 2-page insert with comments by Jim Arena

DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: VCI

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Jay Fenton

• Arlene Dahl phone interview

• Photo Gallery

• Reign of Terror
 

DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
Keep Case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• None

DVD Release Date: September 21, 2010
Keep Case

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio:
Film Detective

 

1.33:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,409,987,458 bytes

Feature: 16,252,078,080 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Commentary by Professor and Film Scholar, Jason A. Ney
''MYSTERIES EXPOSED: INSIDE THE CINEMATIC WORLD OF SPIRITUALISM'' - A new documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures featuring interviews with author Lisa Morton (Calling All Spirits: A History of Seances) and author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner. (20:28)
Full Color Booklet with essay, ''The Amazing Mr. Bey,'' by Don Stradley


Blu-ray Release Date:
October 26, 202
1
Black Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Film Detective Blu-ray (October 2021): Film Detective have transferred  Bernard Vorhaus' essential Noir, "The Amazing Mr. X" to Blu-ray. The title has been kicking around public domain for years - and there has always had a source problem - requiring film-level restoration. I think "The Amazing Mr. X" deserves it, but it's not here. This particular 1080P transfer does not look great - very faint in terms of contrast - devoid of deep black levels. The utilized print has lost density. The grain textures breakdown to look disparate and noisy. It also has inconsistency with certain scenes looking far superior - but they are, unfortunately, in the minority. These imperfections are not fatal and I still appreciated the HD presentation because of the high value of the film.    

NOTE: We have added 50 large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Film Detective use a DTS-HD Master dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original English language. Like the video it has weaknesses. The Amazing Mr. X has a haunting voice from the ocean, spiritualist parlor tricks, few aggressive sequences (minor gunplay) and a serene score by Alexander Laszlo (The Great Flamarion, The Atomic Submarine) sounding scattered at times with a couple of dropouts noted. Film Detective offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray

The Film Detective Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Professor and Film Scholar, Jason A. Ney. He is informative and gives a rundown of the careers of Austrian-born actor of Turkish and Czech-Jewish origins Turhan Bey, Lynn Bari (in 150 movies for 20th Century Fox from the early 1930s through the 1940s), Cathy O'Donnell (how 24-year-old O'Donnell married 47-year-old producer Robert Wyler - marginalizing her offered roles), Richard Carlson (Tormented, It Came From Outer Space) but spends more extensive time talking about the great Noir cinematographer John Alton - T-Men (1947), He Walked by Night (1948), Raw Deal (1948), The Big Combo (1955), Slightly Scarlet (a rare color film noir) etc. etc. He debunks the Carole Landis rumor that she was considered for the lead role. Overall a very good commentary. I also enjoyed the 20-minute documentary ''Mysteries Exposed: Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism", with author Lisa Morton (Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances) and author/film historian C. Courtney Joyner as they talk about the fascinating role of spiritualism in history and film. The package has a full color booklet with essay, ''The Amazing Mr. Bey,'' by Don Stradley.

What we have in "The Amazing Mr. X" is a minor masterpiece from the supernatural thriller aspects to the impressionist treatment of light by John Alton adding delightfully to the noirish and Gothic, mansion-on-the-ocean, heavy shadows, a 'seer' bilking the rich and other dark cinema conventions. In a film of this nature, the sťance scene always carries significant weight to defining the film's genre. Unfortunately, the Film Detective Blu-ray can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear in terms of the a/v presentation. But is is in acceptable, if far from pristine 1080P and has a well-researched commentary and wonderful documentary. It's been a decade of waiting for it to come to BD and we still recommend this one - on the strength of the film, happily ignoring the imperfections. See this one!  

Gary Tooze

***

ADDITION: Sony - Region 0 - October 2010: A staple of public domain releases, Sony Pictures owns the only existing 35mm elements of this title under its UK title, The Spiritualist. The disc was released as part of Sony's 'Screen Classics by Request' line - on-demand service. There are no menus and the film starts right after an un-skippable 18-second FBI warning. The film looks very good, with less damage than the cheaper, and also progressive, Image Entertainment DVD. The blacks are richer compared to Image release but it as negligible improvement. The film is divided onto 8 chapters every 10 minutes. For the $6.50 savings most will be content with the Image Entertainment release which may have less compression artifacts.

  - Gregory Meshman

***

ON THE IMAGE ENT. AND VCI: This film is in the Public Domain so there are plenty of other DVD editions as weak as the VCI (from companies like Alpha or in homemade compilation DVDs etc.) , so this Image Entertainment edition appears to be the best of the lot. The VCI is very hazy and borders on unwatchable but does offer a commentary from Jay Fenton. The VCI comes in a Double Feature package with a very weak transfer of The Black Book - compared HERE.

The Image Entertainment disc has some damage, mostly in the form of speckles and light to heavy scratches but overall image quality is acceptable. It's progressive with minor artifacts. Audio is expectantly weak but borderline acceptable. There are no subtitle options.

Although this is a new release for Image in July 2006, it still has no extras (aside from the liner notes) and only 2 chapter menus.

We'd suggest passing on the VCI to see The Amazing Mr. X and by the Image Entertainment's usual gouging standards this is marked for an enticing purchase. The film is right out of left field but has some exceptional camera work by John Alton giving it a very strong atmospheric feel - I am a sucker for Cathy O'Donnell - that's what sold me and I wasn't disappointed in my viewing at all.  

Gary Tooze and Gregory Meshman

 


DVD Menus

 

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC RIGHT


 

Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample - Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


Damage... but not on Sony DVD or Blu-ray!
 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) VCI Classic Film Noir - Vol. 3 - Region 0 - NTSC SECOND

3) Sony Pictures (Screen Classics by Request) - Region 0 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE


 

Box Cover

 

 

 

 

BONUS CAPTURES:

Distribution Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC VCI Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC

Sony Pictures

Region 0 - NTSC

Film Detective - Region FREE - Blu-ray




 

Hit Counter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!