'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

TOMATOMETER

——

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: By turns lurid and disturbing, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is a compelling piece of sci-fi pulp and one of Roger Corman's most effective movies.

'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Filmed under the working title X, this Roger Corman masterwork was released in most areas as X -- The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Ray Milland plays Dr. Xavier, who experiments with a new, far-reaching form of vision. His efforts succeed insofar as allowing him to see great distances, and to look through walls, clothing and even skin. Wandering aimlessly about after this discovery, Milland is briefly exploited by carnival operator Don Rickles. A compassionate doctor (Diane Van der Vlis) attempts to cure Milland, but his powers increase to the point that he can see into deep space--losing his earthly eyesight as a result. Among the most stylistic of Corman's films with modern-day settings, aided substantially by Floyd Crosby's sure-handed cinematography.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Cult Movies
Directed By:
Written By: Ray Russell, Robert Dillon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 5, 2001
Runtime:
Orion Home Video

Cast

Ray Milland
as Dr. James Xavier
Harold J. Stone
as Dr. Sam Brant
Diana Van der Vlis
as Dr. Diane Fairfax
John Hoyt
as Dr. Willard Benson
Morris Ankrum
as Foundation Head
Carol Irey
as Woman Patient
Lotie Summers
as Party Dancer
John Dierkes
as Preacher
Kathryn Hart
as Mrs. Mart
Vicki Lee
as Young Girl Patient
Dick Miller
as John Trask/Heckler
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for 'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes

Critic Reviews for 'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (4)

Director Roger Corman keeps this moving and Ray Milland is competent as the doomed man. Special effects on his prism-eye world, called Spectarama, are good if sometimes repetitive.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

This queasy 1963 SF parable was directed--quickly and cheaply--by Roger Corman for American-International, drawing some of its strength from its tawdry drive-in overtones.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Intelligent sci-fi movie has a powerful performance from Milland.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Surprisingly level-headed and persuasive in its restraint and succinct dialogue.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The bizarre ending has a resonating factor that helps enhance the film's enjoyment quotient.

Full Review… | June 8, 2015
PopMatters

This nifty slice of sci-fi basically plays like Corman's low-rent version of the 1957 classic The Incredible Shrinking Man.

Full Review… | May 14, 2015
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for 'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes

What can I say about this title, it looks and reads brilliantly doesn't it, the only reason I watched the film. Its almost sounds like some kind of Marvel superhero character or smaller comicbook character brought to the big screen for the first time, love it. Alas this isn't a quirky comicbook hero but, even better, its another Roger Corman flick, so who can say what levels of awesomeness might be revealed there in. But seriously, just looking at the films poster is enough awesomeness cereal for me, look at it! its fecking...awesome! I just love the poster, it makes you wanna watch the film, it intrigues, excites and again looks like a wicked superhero flick (or supervillain flick), the colour scheme is spot on too.

The story follows Dr. Xavier (seriously...this isn't a comicbook flick I promise you), a man trying to increase the range of human vision because in America through the 50's and 60's, people in white lab coats did this kind of thing all the time. He develops eyedrops that should enable a human to see through the spectrums of ultraviolet, X-ray and beyond, into the unknown. So after some animal testing he goes for broke and tests it on himself, like any confident scientist would (not me!). At first things are a shock, naturally, but soon he comes to terms with his new vision and things go smoothly, very smoothly, so he continues to take the eyedrops giving himself even more diabolical powers...no wait, wrong genre. Of course this being a sci-fi horror of sorts its pretty obvious that things won't end well with this tale. Sure enough Dr. Xavier descends into a sort of madness as his vision becomes so powerful that he no longer sees as regular humans do, he sees on another level or plain, he sees the mysteries of the universe unravelled.

Let me start by saying this is not an action packed film in any way, there are no monsters, mutants, aliens, ghosts or anything of any kind like that in this picture. The film merely tells the tale of a single man who is able to see through things, of course him being a doctor the plot focuses on him helping people with medical conditions. Yeah sure there is the predictable gag about being able to see through peoples clothes in one sequence, you couldn't really not have that cheesy notion. At a party he can see all the young sexy ladies dancing around naked which you don't actually see of course, but like I said, it had to be done because that's the first thing everyone thinks of. Things get more interesting when you think about all the other devious, illegal things you could maybe get away with, exactly the same as the invisibility notion, moral ethics come into play.

Unfortunately that is one aspect I think the film could of done more with. We do see the Doc diagnosing a child who had been misdiagnosed by a fellow doctor and then saving her life in the operating theatre. After, as he loses control of his vision he still continues to takes the drops, which his close friend and colleague disagrees with, which results in a squabble and the accidental death of said friend. From this point on he goes on the run which leads to the inevitable carnival plot route, because people with these types of conditions always end up in a freak show at some point during these 50/60's sci-fi flicks. I did like this section of the film, I especially liked the stereotypically sleazy carny played by Don Rickles who doesn't even try to hide his sleaziness when showing little old ladies in to see Xavier. Could he be any more shifty?! look at his eyes woman! there's also a small uncredited role with a young Dick Miller here too. Later on we also see Xavier going to Vegas and trying his hand on the slots and cards, although I'm still not sure how being able to see the slot machine reels would allow you to win any easier, you still don't know where they will stop even if you can see all the images. Cards would be a better bet but even then, when the cards are stacked together flat, you wouldn't be able to see them, not clearly anyway. Still, I think we could of seen more with Xavier using his vision for monetary gain, the film spends so much time with him as a doctor in the first half that everything else, especially the casino stuff, feels rushed.

This isn't an effects extravaganza either I might add, what we get is very subtle, obviously basic by today's standards and there isn't much of it. Every now and then we get a POV from Xavier and his super sight. What we see are simple transparency/lens effects (superimpositions known as Spectarama) showing say...organs of a person or say, a pen underneath someone's blazer. Later on as the effects grow stronger we see a blurry, hazy, fuzzy image with all the colours of the rainbow shimmering vividly. To be honest after a time it does make your own eyes feel funny, what with all the colours, blurriness and talk of vision and eyes etc...The best and most eerie effect has to be the transformation of Xavier's eyes. For no real reason other than to look cool, his eyes eventually turn black with gold irides, later on towards the finale his eyes go completely black. Like I said it makes no sense at all really, but its just something to boost the effect of his visual powers, a cool fantasy effect which again harks back to my superhero thoughts.

The plot is admittedly highly generic and you're not really sure what Xavier's endgame is, what's his goal when things start to go wrong? I'm also unsure as how he would be able to see, literately to the centre of the universe, how would seeing the X-ray and ultra violet spectrums allow that? That is of course if he actually saw that, maybe he was just going insane from the constant kaleidoscope of bright colourful images he was seeing. Luckily the character is engaging and likeable, well performed by Ray Milland who looks effortlessly slick and cool for the whole run time. Seriously when this guy wears his protective shades, with his hair all slicked back, he has that classic, ice cool, Rat Pack air about him which really lured me in, dunno why. Considering he wasn't exactly a young man in this movie he certainly looked good. In general the film is very formulaic and doesn't really offer anything in terms of amazing original surprises. But despite that, overall, its really good retro fun, quirky with typical 1960's Americana sci-fi themes (which us fanboys love), and quite a creepy little ending which is also left open.

phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

This is an okay movie from Corman, it's not one of the best, but it's not one of the worst either. It has a familiar sci-fi horror theme, but with a man who actually has X-ray eyes, which is the coolest part of the movie.

ajv2688
Aj V

Super Reviewer

½

All hail Roger Corman! A cult classic with all the trappings you'd expect from uber-cool low-budget 60's science fiction.

It wasn't enough that the mad scientist could see through paper, clothes and skin. He kept pushing, kept experimenting until he saw things no man was ever intended to see, things no man should ever see [insert creepy music here].

flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss 'X'---The Man With the X-Ray Eyes on our Movie forum!