Tuesday 2 November 2021

On Blu-ray - David Hare welcomes THE AMAZING MR X (Bernard Vorhaus, USA, 1948)

Turhan Bey

Below are the enigmatic, beautiful Turhan Bey and an equally under-appreciated Lynn Bari from a lovely new restoration on Blu-ray from Film Detective of Bernard Vorhaus' 1948 phony psychic noir, The Amazing Mr. X.

Unsurprisingly, when you look at the screens the picture was shot by Noir Mensch John Alton for the Eagle-Lion Studio. 

After the picture came out Vorhaus, already in line for fingering by HUAC as a suspected commie, was offered the then standard bait for dummies, a screenplay for "I Married A Communist". 

Vorhaus smelt the obvious rat and refused the assignment so he was of course sacked. He later fled to the UK where he joined company with other HUAC expats like Joseph Losey and Jules Dassin. Interestingly enough I Married a Communist was eventually directed with great skill as a psychological Noir by Robert Stevenson and was initially released under the title The Woman on Pier 13.
Mr. X meanwhile is a movie of great interest and power, in a small post war run of off-the-wall oneiric Noirs including (all from 1946) Florey's Noir cum horror The Beast with Five Fingers (with assistance from fellow surrealist Luis Bunuel), Frank Tuttle's superb Suspense for Monogram with Ice Queen Belita and Arthur Ripley's sublime The Chase.

Although it’s encoded in Mpeg2 rather than AVC it’s got a reasonable bitrate (ca.27 mbps) and it doesn’t appear to be massaged. It has yet to stand the ruthless test run on the new projector however. (My new toy, an Epson 5050/8400).

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