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The Spiritualist

The Spiritualist(1948)

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Remind Me

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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At her mansion on the Pacific coast, Christine Faber, a beautiful, wealthy widow of two years, believes she hears her dead husband Paul's voice calling to her from the beach. While walking to the neighboring house of lawyer Martin Abbott, her boyfriend, Chris again hears the voice and meets a spiritualist named Alexis, who warns her against marrying Martin, and mysteriously recounts details of her life. Later that night, Martin proposes, but Chris begins to suspect that Paul's ghost does not want her to remarry. Hoping to reach Paul, Chris begins to visit Alexis on a regular basis, causing Martin and Chris's younger sister, Janet Burke, to consult a detective named Hoffman. Hoffman informs them that a man matching Alexis' description was imprisoned in Chicago for taking money on false pretenses. Posing as a client, Janet visits Alexis in order to get his fingerprints. He knows who she is, however, and easily dupes her into believing he has real psychic powers by willingly putting his fingerprints all over her cigarette case as if he has read her mind. Later, Alexis' girl friend reports that she found a photograph of the sisters' parents, and asks when he is planning to swindle Chris out of her fortune. Soon Alexis holds a séance for Janet and Chris in which he makes their father's face appear before them in the dark. Alexis then plays a recording of Paul's favorite piano concerto and makes the image of his face appear. The séance is interrupted by Martin and Hoffman, who demand that Alexis conduct another séance with them present. This time, Paul mysteriously appears again without the aid of Alexis' tricks, and Alexis realizes he is still alive. After the séance, Paul threatens to kill Alexis unless he helps him steal the Burke fortune by marrying Janet and tormenting Chris to death. Paul was supposed to have died in a car crash, but now admits he put another person's body in the car. Although a practiced charlatan, Alexis is not a murderer, and he begins to care genuinely for Janet. One night, on Paul's orders, Alexis takes Janet down to the beach and kisses her, while Paul lures Chris onto the sea cliff. After Chris falls down the cliff, Janet and Alexis save her. The next day, Janet discovers Paul and Alexis in her basement, where they are conducting special effects to scare Chris. Paul is about to shoot Janet, when Alexis attacks him and is wounded. Janet races to telephone Martin, but in the middle of her call, Paul cuts the wire, then comes after the women with his pistol. Alexis breaks the basement fuse box and shuts out the lights in time, however, and the police arrive and shoot Paul. As Alexis lies dying in Janet's arms, he urges her to forget him and asks her to release his pet raven, which has always been part of his act. The bird then flies out over the open sea.