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X -- the Man with the X-Ray Eyes (Widescreen)

Ray Milland , Diana Van der Vlis , Roger Corman    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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"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

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Oedipus Milland Nov. 26 2002
"X" - THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES is one of the better movies produced by Roger Corman. The DVD gives the option for his commentary and I was intrigued by his remark from the late Ray Milland, that the two movies of which he was most proud, were LOST WEEKEND (for which he won an Academy Award) and this movie, "X". The other reviews give a pretty good synopsis: Milland plays a doctor who uses experimental drops on his own eyes to give him x-ray vision. Either because of obsession or addiction, he keeps taking the drug and when opposed by a colleague, he accidentally kills him. He becomes a fugitive from the law and one could also argue, from himself. He is warned early on that the drops might also affect the brain. This might explain why he goes into quick rages and makes impulsive decisions. Of course, a doctor experimenting on himself is not too swift either, as Dr. Jekyll could say about his Mr. Hyde.
A warning about scientific hubris is given at the very beginning of the film. Is he challenging the gods? At the film's closure he sees through to the light beyond the vast darkness of space. He sees a cosmic eye that sees all and knows all. This element might be lost on the casual viewer. This distant eye sees Dr. Xavier (Milland) and knows he is watching back. This proves too much for Dr. Xavier. While we might know God by faith, represented by the people in the last scene's revival tent, the Old Testament tells us that no one can see the face of God and live. The temptation from the serpent in the garden is realized, "you will become as gods." It was a lie in the beginning and it is still a lie. We are convicted as weak and sinful men and women.
Dr. Xavier says that he has not come to be saved, but to tell what he sees. He becomes a prophet, so to speak.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cool contact lenses! Feb. 8 2002
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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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars ain't bad for a B-movie Oct. 16 2001
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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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting Concept on Medical REsearch Hubris
Roger Corman struck gold with this film. Ray Milland plays a dr. who develops special drops which allow him to see the ultra-long spectrum, i.e. x-rays. Read more
Published on April 12 2002 by "waymakerjim"
4.0 out of 5 stars My candidate for a remake
Ray Milland stars as Doctor Xavier, a dedicated scientist searching for a better x-ray. He finds it, but he also finds that light isn't all it's cracked up to be. Read more
Published on Nov. 29 2001 by Jan Strnad
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 1960s-era Allegory a la Roger Corman
If you take X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES literally, you probably won't like it. Scientific implausibility, a melodramatic plot, and histrionics from some minor players will turn off... Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2001 by Michael R Gates
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice mix of horror and humor
An engaging little thriller, but slightly marred by the abruptness of its "shock" ending. Excellent image, however, and a fair amount of extras for a discount DVD.
Published on Sept. 4 2001 by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible View from Corman
This is a classic film across the board produced and directed by Roger Corman. Corman brilliantly brings a lot of that 50's cold war paranoia that found its way to the screen and... Read more
Published on Sept. 3 2001 by hille2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time
This is what storytelling is about - and it proves the possibilities of the SF genre: While mainstream dramas often sacrifice their subject to public taste by softening it or going... Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2001 by RK, Germany
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange View
Produced and directed by Roger Corman, it is still a shame to see a fine actor like Ray Milland wind down a career with a film like this. Read more
Published on June 11 2001 by gobirds2
3.0 out of 5 stars Ray Milland gives energetic performance.
Imagine a surgeon being able to remove a tumor without having to look at an xray. Dr Xavier (Ray Milland) develops eye drops which allow him to do this. Read more
Published on June 9 2001 by Wil-n-Tally
4.0 out of 5 stars Brought to you be the director of Giant Crab Monsters.
Yep the same director (Roger Corman) that brought you [Attack of the Giant Crab Monsters (1957) ASIN: 6304963084] now brings you to new depths of depravity. Read more
Published on May 29 2001 by bernie
3.0 out of 5 stars x-ray vision
During the mid to late 60's, Roger Corman (master-of underbudget-schlock) produced a series of cheapo movies that are the envy of every modern day independant filmmaker. Read more
Published on April 17 2001 by astik2tehdic
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