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X - The Man With The X-Ray Eyes

4.2 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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(Jun 05, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews


"Only the gods see everything," cautions one scientist as Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland) experiments with a formula that will allow the human eye to see beyond the wavelength of visible light. "I am closing in on the gods," he responds with the hubris that is doomed to destroy his overreaching ambition. A mix of Greek tragedy and sci-fi potboiler, Roger Corman's X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (simply identified as X in the eerie, odd opening credits) is a familiar tale of a scientist who risks everything to explore the unknown and is finally driven mad by, literally, seeing too much. Peeping through the clothes of comely women is all good adolescent fun until the gift becomes a nightmare as his sight rages out of control. The possibilities suggested in the hints of addiction and inconsistent bouts of megalomania remain tantalizingly unexplored in the unfocused script, and Corman's cut-rate special effects are often more hokey than haunting (the "city dissolved in an acid of light" that Xavier poetically describes becomes fuzzy photography through a series of color filters). Don Rickles offers a venal turn as a scheming carnival barker turned blackmailing con man, and Diana Van der Vlis is understanding as a sympathetic scientist who tries to rescue Xavier from his spiral into tortured madness, but in the tradition of Greek tragedy, he is doomed to be destroyed by the very gifts he desires.

MGM's widescreen disc also features commentary by director-producer Corman. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • Original theatrical prologue

Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Milland, Diana Van der Vlis, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles
  • Directors: Roger Corman
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2001
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005AUK1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,156 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "X - The Man With The X-Ray Eyes" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963) Dr. James Xavier, played by Ray Milland, desires the ability to `access the entire wavelength spectrum' so that he may see what no one else can...what male hasn't had that dream? Seriously, if you ever read a comic book, there was always an advertisement, usually between ads for Wildroot hair tonic, how to become a muscle man, or an offer for real Texas rattlesnake eggs, that touted `X-Ray Glasses' featuring a crudely drawn illustration of a guy wearing said glasses and not only having the ability to see the bones in his hand, but also being able to see through a woman's clothes...and I bet a great deal of them were sold, not because they actually worked (most of us, on some level, knew they wouldn't), but on the very slight possibility that they might. Produced and directed by Roger Corman (Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death), the film stars Oscar winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend, The Big Clock). Also appearing is Diana Van der Vlis (The Girl in Black Stockings), Harold Stone (Spartacus), John Hoyt (Attack of the Puppet People), and Don `Mr. Warmth' Rickles (Beach Blanket Bingo, Kelly's Heroes).

As I already mentioned, Milland plays Dr. James Xavier, a man with an obsession. You see, as humans, we only see about ten percent of what's actually out there, and he wants more (greedy bastich). During his research he develops the X formula, which in experiments allows a monkey to see through cardboard, but has a curious side effect of death...Xavier chalks this up to the monkeys minuscule brain not being able to comprehend what it sees, thus shutting down and causing the demise, but humans are smarter than monkeys, so shouldn't have the same problem, right? Right...
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Format: DVD
Ray Milland's movie career took an interesting turn in the early 1960's...he signed on to do three films for American International Pictures, an outfit far removed from the majors like Paramount and 20th Century Fox. At the time, AIP was well-known for cranking out black and white cheapie fliks for the teenage matinee crowd, stuff like "The Day the World Ended" and "The She Creature." By 1963, when "The Man With the X-Ray Eyes" was released, AIP was enlarging their budgets by adding color, better sets, and employing good writers (Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont) and actors (Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Peter Lorre, Basil Rathbone, Karloff). Milland's involvement was one more step up the "prestige" ladder for AIP. Mr. Milland had won an Academy Award (Best Actor, "The Lost Weekend" 1945) and was a touch of Hollywood royalty that AIP would not let go unexploited. The first film he did under their banner was "The Premature Burial," directed by Roger Corman. Then came "Man With the X-Ray Eyes," an interesting and philosophical sci-fi thriller. It contains an excellent Milland performance as "Dr. Xavier," who concocts a serum that allows him to see through any object. Eventually, overuse of the drops results in the doctor being able to see into Infinity...and what he finds there is enough to drive anyone insane (or is it? Check out the film!). Production values are good, if a little "TV-like," and director Corman keeps things moving at a quick pace. Mention should be made of Don Rickles (?!) contribution as a sleazy carnival hustler--he's truly obnoxious and completely believable! Not to mention surprisingly skinny! I loved the film's ending, and I, too, heard the legend about the cut line. Corman, in a commentary, remarks on it, giving us the full scoop on whether the scene was ever filmed.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
I feel that a 3-star rating for "X" says a lot, actually. Of all the titles on MGM's Midnite Movies roster, it certainly has the most entertaining and though-provoking story. Surely every person at one point has fantasized about being able to fly, being invisible, having x-ray vision, etc., but what would really happen if you were granted one of these powers? And are you certain you could control it? Here's your answer. Corman's direction is not too shabby - although some of the dialogue is extremely stilted, the cast gets through it with barely a scratch. I've seen Ray Milland in some real stinkers, but his acting skills have never been in question. While he plays a stuffy doctor very well, this film has some humorous moments where his expression or tone of voice speaks volumes... cocktail parties never looked so fun.
The special effects, for the year and the limited budget, are not that bad. They did an acceptable job of conveying what Dr. Xavier was seeing, and the physical transformation of his eyes in the last half of the film is well-done. It's a shame that the movie didn't go into more detail on the "object" (no spoilers here!) that he sees at the limits of his vision. That was a very interesting plot point and could have provided even more weirdness.
As a long-time fan of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, I certainly recommend this film. The only problem I have with it is the ending. I truly want to believe that the rumor regarding the deleted final line of dialogue is true. Even if it's not, I think Corman and MGM should have played along and tacked on a dub during the fade-out, especially for this DVD edition. The ending, as it is, is chilling but lacking, and it's too abrupt. Adding the infamous deleted line would add an entirely different scope to this film.
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