Review: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Blu-ray: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)
Dr. James Xavier (Ray Milland) is a man obsessed with expanding the powers of human sight. Not content with his experiments on animals, he tries his serum on his own eyes.
The initial results of his self-testing are positive, allowing him to see a far greater spectrum of light, while also giving him the ability to see through solid objects, which he then uses for good in the hospital, correctly diagnosing the ailments of the patients in there.
However, his new found optical powers do not go down well with his fellow doctors and he is soon forced to run away to a fair where he is touted as a man who can see the future.
When finding out the true powers of Xavier, the fairground manager sets him up as a healer, with people paying whatever they can afford to relieve their ailments. He of course becomes very popular.
This works for so long, but the fairground managers increasing greed and the ever more powerful (and destructive) effects of the serum, begin to drive Xavier closer to the tipping point of madness.
Directed by the great Roger Corman, The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is one of his best, with a superb leading performance by Ray Milland. Close-ups on Milland as he begins to see how the serum is changing his vision, is rewarded with subtle facial movements which project more emotion than any dialogue could.
The visual effects highlight the low budget, but these are more than made up for with an engaging narrative which whips along in its 79 minute running time.
The serious side of such a scientific experiment is explored, including the physical and mental effects it has on Xavier, as well as the effects (both positive and negative) on the people around him.
There are light comedy moments, the most obvious being when Xavier is at a party and can see everyone naked as they dance and have a good time, though Corman makes sure that everyones modesty is kept intact in this scene.
The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is an engrossing sci-fi thriller which also sparks some debate when the credits have rolled.
Personally, I think it would have been much easier for him to buy some of those x-ray specs which are always advertised at the back of the Sunday newspapers.
Interesting and informative special features, complete with superb packaging and audio/visual transfer, makes this another release from Second Sight Films that should immediately be put on your “to buy” list.
- New interview with Director Roger Corman
- American Gothic – interview with Kat Ellinger, Author and Editor of Diabolique
- Audio commentary by Roger Corman
- Audio commentary by Tim Lucas
- Original prologue
- Joe Dante on The Man With X-Ray Eyes
- Trailers from Hell with Mick Garris
Limited Edition Contents
- Rigid slipcase featuring new artwork by Graham Humphreys
- Reversible poster with new and original artwork
- Soft cover book with new writing by Jon Towlson and Allan Bryce
The Man with the X-Ray Eyes is released on 4th May 2020.
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