X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes (1963)
I first saw X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes in 1986 on WNEW-TV Channel 5, an independent channel based out of New York City. It played during the summer as part of a sci-fi movie week that featured a few Godzilla movies. The thing that stood out the most for me was the lead character played by Ray Milland, who in the film has X-ray vision and at one point we see his eyes and they are completely red. This scene freaked me out and has remained an iconic image of this movie.
The film is about Dr. James Xavier (Milland) who is trying to develop eye drops that will make the human eye see more. For an example, as a doctor he could see through patient’s bodies and find out what is wrong with them and have better results than an x-ray machine can provide. He develops the eye drops and tests them on himself. At first they are working great, but the doctor over uses them and he sees more than he wants. His friends try to help him, but when he accidentally kills his best friend he goes on the run and joins up with a carnival playing a mind reader.
This film is a great example of a schlock sci-fi film from the 1960’s. Roger Corman, who directed and produced the film, made tons of cheap-o horror and sci-fi films in the 50’s and 60’s and X is one of his most memorable ones. It has a good story, great cast of characters, and some cool effects when it comes to the doctor’s X-ray vision. One ability a person would want to have is x-ray vision, but in this film it shows you the dark side of having this unique sense and you will probably have second thoughts on having X-ray vision.
One of the stand out moments of the film is when Dr. Xavier is at a party and he can see through everyone’s clothes and checks out all the ladies there. There is a scene in Las Vegas where he is trying to win a lot of money and he is able to see what cards are coming up while he is playing blackjack. Everything at the carnival is done very well. The setting is a prefect fit for the man with the X-ray eyes. Don Rickles plays the boss of Xavier at the carnival who finds out that his act isn’t just an act and that he can really see through things. Rickles plays a great sleazy carnie that wants to make more money off of Xavier once he finds out his true gift.
One thing that I noticed is that the Milland’s character name is Xavier and that he is a doctor. There was another Xavier who was also created in the same year of this film in 1963, and that man was Prof. Charles Xavier of Marvel Comics the X-Men. I just realized this and find it inserting that both characters were created in the same year and released the same month of that year. It would have been really strange if Milland’s character was in a wheelchair, but his character in the 1972 film Frogs was wheelchair bound.
If you have never seen X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, go check it out. It is one of those great schlock films of the 60’s that really captures that decade and it has a good, fun sci-fi adventure story that has great thrills and chills. X is a sci-fi classic that everyone should see.