X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes


Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 68%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 4801


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May 13, 2015 at 09:27 AM



Don Rickles as Crane
Ray Milland as Dr. James Xavier
Dick Miller as Heckler
John Hoyt as Dr. Willard Benson
720p 1080p
691.99 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 19 min
P/S 1 / 2
1.23 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 19 min
P/S 0 / 9

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Jeffrey Talbot 8 / 10

Superlative, brilliant, thoroughly engrossing sci-fi tragedywhich stands as Roger Corman's best and most impressive effort in thisfield.

Science fiction which questions the very nature of existence itself is probably the most fascinating basis for a story idea addressed. Prior to X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES the only other film to explore this theme was Jack Arnold's profound THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957) and both of these ground-breaking films paved the way for later endeavours like Stanley Kubrick's experimental 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968).

X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES was released theatrically on September 1963. On network television at this time were two important sci-fi/fantasy series namely Rod Serling's THE TWILIGHT ZONE and Joseph Stefano's THE OUTER LIMITS. This Roger Corman work is very much the same school of science fiction as both of these series which places greater emphasis on strong writing, provocative drama, outstanding performances and ensemble casting as the main foundation for storytelling and focus for viewer interest.

Ray Milland as Dr. James Xavier sets the film's premise by noting that the human eye is only sensitive to one-tenth the spectrum of light and what would be seen if human vision developed enough to perceive the full spectrum. Unfortunately as his range of vision increases more and more his sensibilities prove inadequate to cope with the indefinable apparitions which he beholds and his radically changing perception of the physical world around him. The most significant and telling moment occurs when Dr. Xavier hiding out from the law in a tenement basement apartment (for the accidental murder of a colleague) peers upward with his super-vision penetrating through the ceiling of his room and sees beyond the night sky, past the starry heavens and beholds the very center of existence itself causing the awe-struck researcher to cry out in anguished torment.

Later with the authorities in hot pursuit, Dr. Xavier enters the tent of a road-show religious bible meeting and movingly tells the incredulous throng gathered within about what he has witnessed evocatively describing the vision as a "great eye" at the core of the universe which sees and watches us all.

The nihilistic ending of the film involves Dr. Xavier plucking-out his eyeballs (now no longer recognizable as eyes) at the impassioned urgence of a fanatical evangelist and his congregation with the image of Xavier's countenance freeze-framing to disclose his empty blood-red eye sockets then abruptly fading out to black (followed by the closing credits). This would seem to reaffirm the timeworn homily that there are some things man was not meant to know (or tamper with) and many critics and theatre goers understandably found this conclusion somewhat discordant and incongruous with the ideas and events which had preceded it. However this restructured ending was mandated at the insistence of the studio heads and is not the finale that was initially filmed. The original conclusion as intended had Dr. Xavier plucking out his eyeballs and looking around in confusion he cries out, "I can still see!" which sheds a different light for not only had his expansive vision enabled Xavier to observe the infinite but his heightened perception has now evolved beyond the need of mere eyes for sight.

X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES was the third of three interesting works produced by American International Pictures (over a two year period) which starred Ray Milland. The other two films were Roger Corman's THE PREMATURE BURIAL (1962) and PANIC IN YEAR ZERO (1962) which Mr. Milland both directed and starred in. Not surprisingly Mr. Milland gives an exceptional performance as the ill-fated Dr. Xavier and his distinguished name and considerable Thespian expertise certainly gives this film much prestige and impact. Ray Milland is ably supported by a fine supporting cast of talented professionals including Diana Van Der Vliss, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles (in a marvelous straight character role), John Dierkes and a brief appearance by sci-fi film veteran Morris Ankrum (as a hospital board member).

Mention must also be made of Les Baxter's hauntingly atmospheric and unusual music score (particularly memorable is this compelling composition's wailing siren-like quality) which ranks among his best. Mr. Baxter is primarily known for his musical contributions to the early editions of Roger Corman's Poe series of horror films, AIP's Beach Party movies and other AIP hits such as William Witney's MASTER OF THE WORLD (1961) and Jacques Tourneur's THE COMEDY OF TERRORS (1964).

X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES is certainly one of the most important films in the catalogue of both Roger Corman and American International Pictures and marked Corman's welcome return to the sci-fi genre which he had abandoned since the late 1950's. At this point in time Roger Corman was riding the crest of considerable artistic and commerical triumph (thanks mainly to his renowned Edgar Allan Poe film series) and X: THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES came in a lush period of inspiration and creativity where this auteur director seemly could do no wrong.

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 7 / 10

Do You See What I See?

This was the typically-hokey-but fun Roger Corman film but one that keeps your interest most the way and at least stars a famous classic-era actor: Ray Milland. One actually wonders what an actor of Milland's status would doing in a B Grade B-type sci-fi movie like this. For someone who had admired Milland's work for many years, it just seems odd for me to see him in a small-budget film. Maybe things got tough for him near the end of his career and he would take most any role. I don't know, and I'm not judging.....just curious why he took this role. I do know having him in the movie elevates it and the dialog isn't as cheesy as one would expect in a 1950-ish sci-fi horror story made in the '60s.

Comedian Don Rickles playing a greedy criminal guy was another odd cast selection, but, he, too, was fun to watch.

Corman was smart to keep this at a respectable 79 minutes. Had it gone on longer, it would have started to drag. It would be interesting to see this film done with today's special-effects.

Reviewed by clore_2 5 / 10

I remain enthusiastic even 40 years later...

To this writer, the film is Roger Corman's best entry into sci-fi. Many of his 50s efforts hold a certain campy charm, with their low-budget effects - and this film is similar in that regard. It does not dwell on the effects, in fact some of them are rather poor. What it does have in its favor is a tight screenplay that gets into the story quickly, as will the viewer - and it's engrossing enough and the characters interesting enough that one stays involved through the episodic story.

What it has most in its favor is an excellent performance from Ray Milland, then in his last days being top-billed, and he milks it for all that it's worth. In some scenes Corman goes for a direct close-up and Milland's facial reactions indicate that he took the the role in a small-budget/tight schedule film with all the enthusiasm that he did in one of his roles for Alfred Hitchcock ("Dial M For Murder") or Fritz Lang ("Ministry of Fear"). Smooth, refined, but a man of immediate action if necessary, Milland's Dr. Xavier is not your usual mad scientist. As with Claude Rains in "The Invisible Man" or Al Hedison in "The Fly" he's the scientist who made the mistake of being his own subject.

Occasionally Corman goes for the cheap gag (the party sequence, where Xavier examines the guests sans attire - but inoffensive in a typical 60s approach), but the carnival scenes and the basement healer scenes show a maturity to Corman's direction, and these scenes are greatly helped by the performance of Don Rickles. He's as sleazy as one can get and admits that if he had the power, he would use it to see "all the undressed women my poor eyes can stand" and you believe it. A scene where Milland confronts other carnival workers who are speculating on his "power" shows the doctor to be both introspective and world weary at the same time. At this point even he does not know what to do with his ability, but Rickles' suggestion of setting up a site to "heal" others leads to the film's most revealing and almost poetic sequence. Xavier's original intention was to help the ill, but his implication in an accidental murder led him to seek refuge in the carnival Richard Kimble-style.

Diana Van Der Vlis does well with her underwritten role in which at one point she's rather quickly dropped, and then resurfaces rather conveniently later in the story - to no great effect. This was only her second feature film, though she had done a number of TV guest shots. Although half Milland's age, she seems more mature than her 28 years and they make a believable pair. A bonus is the appearance of a number of veterans in brief roles - John Hoyt, Harold J. Stone, John Dierkes and Morris Ankrum, as well as Corman stalwart Dick Miller. Miller shares his scenes with Jonathan Haze, whom it appears was getting the cheapest rate Corman could pay as he has no lines at all. He was rather bitter about this as he revealed in an interview years later.

Floyd Crosby's cinematography belies the small budget - only $300,000 and a shooting schedule of about three weeks. According to Corman they did rehearse a bit more than usual - and in the finished product it shows. He claims he even went as high as four takes, which may not exactly put him in William Wyler or Stanley Kubrick territory, but it's a far cry from what he'd do in the 50s. Les Baxter contributes what may be my favorite of his scores, fully complimentary to the action on screen without overwhelming it.

There's a bit of controversy over the ending - some attribute an extra line of dialog that never appeared in any print that I've seen, but it is still one of the most surprising endings of any sci-fi film since "The Incredible Shrinking Man." That it won the top prize at the Trieste Science Fiction Film Festival would be enough for one to be curious enough to see it even this many years later - that it has held up so well over 40 years points to that award's validity.

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