Dr. James Xavier is a brilliant
scientist and doctor who is working on how to improve human vision.
He hopes to be able to be able to help doctors see what is ailing their
patients better than any x-ray could possibly hope to. When he
experiments on himself he succeeds beyond his wildest imagination and
is able to see thru solid objects. When he uses this power to
stop a colleague and save a little girl everything goes wrong and in
the struggle he accidentally kills another doctor. Xavier escapes
the police and goes into hiding to continue his research, but eventually
the authorities catch up to him when he tries to use his power to beat
Vegas. The final chase ends up in one of the creepiest scenes
that Iíve ever seen in a movie.
Upon first glance I would have
to say that this movie isnít one of Cormanís better films, but the
more that I think about it the better I seem to like the movie.
The story is very slow and paper-thin. The doctor gets his special
vision, accidentally kills someone, is taken advantage of a ruthless
con man, and eventually gets caught. There really isnít much
to the plot and the movie suffers because of it. I wouldnít
say the movie is boring, but it is really slow. The best part
of the movie and what makes it an enjoyable watch is the excellent cast
lead by Ray Milland. Milland is very good in the role of Xavier
with his performance being at times very sympathetic and egomaniacal
at others. It is mostly thru Millandís performance that the
Xavier character gains any sympathy, which is key to making the movie
work. Also very impressive is Don Rickles as the unscrupulous
conman who tries to take advantage of Xavierís abilities to fleece
some rubes. Iíve never seen Rickles do anything like this before
and was very surprised that he had it in him.
The production values on this
movie are pretty damn good. There are some very creative visual
effects in this movie that may seem a bit dated now, but for 1963 are
awesome. The use of filters and lenses to distort what you see
on the screen is very effective in showing why the Xavier character
is in such pain. God I even think that some of the scenes were
either double exposed to create a very strange halo effect. Bottom
line is that this is a very creative and well-shot movie.
X: The Man with X-ray Eyes
is an entertaining movie that, while slow at times, still makes for
a good watch. If you are in the mood for a low budget, sort of
cheesy movie then I recommend checking this one out. Also if you
are a Corman geek like myself watch out for the ďregularsĒ as they
show up in cameos.
*Note: This is one of the movies available in the recent Corman box set from MGM. I highly recommend getting the set. It is a wonderful cross section of Cormanís work.
-John "El Juan" Shatzer