Monday, 28 January 2019

The Spiritualist - 1948 film review

Image result for the spiritualist film 1948

The Spiritualist is a film from 1948 which is also known as The Amazing Mr X, a title which might have put me off had I been aware of it. At one time, apparently, it was also known as The Mystic. Anyway, I'm glad I wasn't put off, because it's quite a good movie, certainly worth a watch. And the focus is on a topic that became fashionable with crime writers during the Golden Age - spiritualism, and the dangers posed by fake mediums.

We are introduced to Christine Faber (Lynn Bari) whose beloved husband Paul died two years ago in a tragic accident when his car burst into flames. She hasn't got over her grief, although her young and ingenuous sister Janet (Cathy O'Donnell) is keen for her to put the past behind her, and become engaged to her boyfriend. When I learned that the boyfriend was a lawyer by the name of Martin, I became convinced that Janet was absolutely right to root for him. There is a regrettable suggestion that Martin (Richard Carlson) is actually rather a dull dog, but somehow I felt that could not be right!

Anyway, Christine encounters a charismatic medium called Alexis (played, rather well, by Turhan Bey, an interesting actor with whom I was previously unfamiliar). She falls under his spell, and Janet becomes suspicious of his motives, with good reason. But when Janet goes to confront Alexis, she too is bamboozled by him. And poor old Martin's hopes of happiness with Christine begin to dwindle...

There is a pleasing plot twist which I should have seen coming, but didn't, and the movie proceeds in an entertaining way to its conclusion.  There's a good review of the film on the ever-reliable Tipping My Fedora blog, and I concur with Sergio's enthusiasm. It's a short movie which doesn't outstay its welcome. I'm glad it's shown up on the splendid Talking Pictures TV channel. And as for what happens to good old Martin - well, you'll have to watch it to find out!

No comments: