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THE SPIRITUALIST
aka THE AMAZING MR. X
1948, Sony Repertory, 78 min, USA, Dir: Bernard Vorhaus

A phony medium (Turhan Bey, in a supremely slippery performance) convinces a gullible widow (Lynn Bari) that he can communicate with her late husband. This hugely entertaining thriller (the lighter side of NIGHTMARE ALLEY) is one of the least-seen and under-appreciated of cinematographer John Alton's many noir masterworks. With Cathy O'Donnell and Richard Carlson.


THE BIG COMBO
1955, 87 min, USA, Dir: Joseph H. Lewis

One of the essential noirs pits malevolent crime kingpin Mr. Brown (Richard Conte) against a crusading copper (Cornel Wilde) in a battle for alluring Jean Wallace. The memorable noir palaver (purportedly by Philip Yordan) is accentuated by the cinematography of the legendary John Alton and a jazzy score by David Raksin. Featuring the unusual hit-man team of Lee Van Cleef and Earl Holliman amid a stand-out supporting cast: Brian Donlevy, Robert Middleton, Helen Walker, Jay Adler, John Hoyt, Ted de Corsia and Helene Stanton.


HOLLOW TRIUMPH
1948, Eagle-Lion, 83 min, Dir: Steve Sekely

Fugitive crook Johnny Muller (Paul Henreid) finds the perfect hiding place - in the guise of a psychiatrist who is his identical twin … almost. One of the sublime examples of noir fatalism, with a clever script that will keep you guessing - and the added attraction of an amazingly evocative look at 1940s Los Angeles, photographed by the great John Alton. This was the first film produced by romantic leading man Henreid, who like many actors in the late 1940s turned to crime dramas to revitalize their careers. Costarring Joan Bennett at her snarly best.


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