X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes


1h 20m 1963
X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Brief Synopsis

A doctor uses special eye drops to give himself x-ray vision, but the new power has disastrous consequences.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Man With X-Ray Eyes, X
Genre
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
Miami, Florida, opening: 18 Sep 1963
Production Company
Alta Vista Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

While experimenting on an X-ray vision serum to expand human eyesight, Dr. James Xavier is told by his colleague, Dr. Diane Fairfax, that his funds from the research foundation will be cut unless he produces results. In desperation Xavier, with the reluctant assistance of Dr. Brant, decides to initiate the experiments on himself. The tests are successful, and soon Xavier is able to see through paper, materials, and even human tissue. When asked to help on a heart operation, Xavier is able to see that the diagnosis is wrong, and during the operation, he forcibly takes over to save the patient's life. The result is that he is dismissed and threatened with a malpractice suit. Meanwhile, his eyes have become so sensitive to light that he is forced to wear lead glasses and is subject to intense headaches. When Dr. Brant and Dr. Fairfax try to force him to stop administering the serum to his eyes, a struggle ensues, and Brant is accidentally killed. Xavier panics, flees the city, and finds refuge in a carnival where his strange power of eyesight is exploited by Crane, the owner; however, when Crane discovers Xavier's past, he threatens to expose him. Almost blind from the extreme vision and headaches, Xavier goes berserk and crashes his car; he stumbles into a revival meeting and, following the preacher's exhortation, plucks out his eyes.

Photo Collections

X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (1963), starring Ray Milland. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Man with the X-Ray Eyes - Novelization
Here is the Lancer novelization of AIP's The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963) by Eunice Sudak.

Videos

Movie Clip

X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - I'm Closing In On The Gods After a gory prologue, two static shots of a disembodied eyeball, producer and director Roger Corman offers graphics with a Saul Bass inflection, and we meet star Ray Milland as eye-doctor Xavier, Harold J. Stone his skeptical colleague, in X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963.
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - I Like Men Who Look Urgent Dr. Fairfax (Diana Van Der Vlis), convinced that x-ray vision researcher Xavier (Ray Milland) has been working too hard, brings him to a party, where regular AIP eye-candy gal Lorie Summers approaches, and he finds out the effects have't worn off, in X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963.
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - I Can See Through It Driven only by his curiosity, Dr. Xavier (Ray Milland) has persuaded colleague Dr. Brant (Harold J. Stone) to assist, as he tries out his miracle x-ray eyedrops, heretofore used only on animals, on himself, the first special effects, in AIP and Roger Corman’s X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963.
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - The Monkey's Been Conditioned Having just cracked her administrative whip over his research funding, Dr. Fairfax (Diana Van Der Vlis) gets a demo from maybe-renegade doctor Xavier (Ray Milland), with a monkey, smoking together after science, early in producer-director Roger Corman’s X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963.
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes -- (1963) - What Are You Dick Tracy? Don Rickles is the insult comic carnival barker, whom we meet after researcher Xavier (Ray Milland) has gone underground, having inexplicably murdered a colleague, and discovered that his experimental vision enhancement is permanent, in Roger Corman's X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, 1963, and the heckler is Dick Miller, star of A Bucket Of Blood, 1959.

Trailer

Film Details

Also Known As
The Man With X-Ray Eyes, X
Genre
Horror
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
Miami, Florida, opening: 18 Sep 1963
Production Company
Alta Vista Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 20m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Articles

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes


When it opened in 1963, this fascinating and disturbing Roger Corman science-fiction film was promoted by American International Pictures like an average drive-in programmer with skeletons and nubile women on the poster art. However, it became clear to anyone who laid eyes on it that this was no ordinary sci-fi programmer. Corman was at the peak of his powers that year with other films like The Haunted Palace, The Raven, The Terror, and The Young Racers, and he was firmly ensconced with AIP after they pulled a runaround tactic when he tried to go independent in 1962 with The Premature Burial.

That film would be significant as the only Corman adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story to not star Vincent Price; instead he cast Ray Milland as the tortured hero whose fear of being buried alive leads to disastrous consequences. Milland would be a logical choice for X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes as Charles Xavier, another tormented protagonist - in this case a scientist whose groundbreaking work in ocular research creates a new drug capable of inducing x-ray vision. His experiments on his own eyes allow him to see further and further through objects and people, leading to a bizarre and highly unsettling ending no viewer ever forgets.

Shot in lurid Pathécolor, this production featured many of Corman's usual collaborators behind the camera including cinematographer Floyd Crosby and composer Les Baxter, whose easy listening talents get more of a workout here than usual. AIP played the film on various double and triple bills, most frequently alongside Francis Ford Coppola's Dementia 13, a pairing capable of rattling more than a few impressionable teenagers.

An Oscar winner for 1945's The Lost Weekend, Milland was gradually moving more into television when he made his three-film detour into AIP (which also included directing and starring duties on 1962's Panic in Year Zero). His big screen output would be limited for the remainder of the decade, but he made a resurgence in 1970 with Love Story. He would remain steadily in demand for the remainder of his career and even returned to AIP in 1972 for Frogs and The Thing with Two Heads after the departure of co-founder James H. Nicholson.

Not to be overlooked in the film next to Milland's powerhouse performance are some of the supporting actors, including Don Rickles breaking away from his usual comedic mode for a sleazy and unnerving turn as Crane. Also on hand is veteran character actor John Hoyt, who also appeared in none other than Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra the same year. Busy TV actor Harold J. Stone would go on to reunite with Corman for The St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1967, and he would also appear in such epics as Spartacus (1960) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).

Interestingly, both of the screenwriters of this film had been better known for working with William Castle outside the gates of AIP. Ray Russell made his screenwriting debut adapting his novella for Castle's Mr. Sardonicus in 1962, which would be followed by Zotz! and Corman's The Premature Burial. He developed the original story for this film and penned the screenplay itself with Robert Dillon, who worked on two Castle films the same year, 13 Frightened Girls and The Old Dark House.

Rumors have abounded for decades about the ending of this film, with author Stephen King starting a rumor that a horrific additional line ("I can still see!") was shot but proved to be too shocking for audiences. Others have insisted they heard that line at some point, though Corman himself claims it wasn't filmed. Complicating things was the release of Gold Key comic book with an extended and more extreme version of the ending that presumably extended AIP's budgetary constraints at the time, so what was originally planned and shot may continue to remain a mystery.

By Nathaniel Thompson
X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

When it opened in 1963, this fascinating and disturbing Roger Corman science-fiction film was promoted by American International Pictures like an average drive-in programmer with skeletons and nubile women on the poster art. However, it became clear to anyone who laid eyes on it that this was no ordinary sci-fi programmer. Corman was at the peak of his powers that year with other films like The Haunted Palace, The Raven, The Terror, and The Young Racers, and he was firmly ensconced with AIP after they pulled a runaround tactic when he tried to go independent in 1962 with The Premature Burial. That film would be significant as the only Corman adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe story to not star Vincent Price; instead he cast Ray Milland as the tortured hero whose fear of being buried alive leads to disastrous consequences. Milland would be a logical choice for X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes as Charles Xavier, another tormented protagonist - in this case a scientist whose groundbreaking work in ocular research creates a new drug capable of inducing x-ray vision. His experiments on his own eyes allow him to see further and further through objects and people, leading to a bizarre and highly unsettling ending no viewer ever forgets. Shot in lurid Pathécolor, this production featured many of Corman's usual collaborators behind the camera including cinematographer Floyd Crosby and composer Les Baxter, whose easy listening talents get more of a workout here than usual. AIP played the film on various double and triple bills, most frequently alongside Francis Ford Coppola's Dementia 13, a pairing capable of rattling more than a few impressionable teenagers. An Oscar winner for 1945's The Lost Weekend, Milland was gradually moving more into television when he made his three-film detour into AIP (which also included directing and starring duties on 1962's Panic in Year Zero). His big screen output would be limited for the remainder of the decade, but he made a resurgence in 1970 with Love Story. He would remain steadily in demand for the remainder of his career and even returned to AIP in 1972 for Frogs and The Thing with Two Heads after the departure of co-founder James H. Nicholson. Not to be overlooked in the film next to Milland's powerhouse performance are some of the supporting actors, including Don Rickles breaking away from his usual comedic mode for a sleazy and unnerving turn as Crane. Also on hand is veteran character actor John Hoyt, who also appeared in none other than Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Cleopatra the same year. Busy TV actor Harold J. Stone would go on to reunite with Corman for The St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1967, and he would also appear in such epics as Spartacus (1960) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). Interestingly, both of the screenwriters of this film had been better known for working with William Castle outside the gates of AIP. Ray Russell made his screenwriting debut adapting his novella for Castle's Mr. Sardonicus in 1962, which would be followed by Zotz! and Corman's The Premature Burial. He developed the original story for this film and penned the screenplay itself with Robert Dillon, who worked on two Castle films the same year, 13 Frightened Girls and The Old Dark House. Rumors have abounded for decades about the ending of this film, with author Stephen King starting a rumor that a horrific additional line ("I can still see!") was shot but proved to be too shocking for audiences. Others have insisted they heard that line at some point, though Corman himself claims it wasn't filmed. Complicating things was the release of Gold Key comic book with an extended and more extreme version of the ending that presumably extended AIP's budgetary constraints at the time, so what was originally planned and shot may continue to remain a mystery. By Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

We're blind to all but a tenth of the universe.
- Dr. James Xavier
My dear friend, only the gods see everything.
- Dr. Sam Brand
My dear doctor, I'm closing in on the gods!
- Dr. James Xavier

Trivia

To create the effect of being able to see through a building, the director filmed the construction of the building in time lapse, then ran the film backward.

It has long been rumored that a final scene, in which Dr. Xavier screams "I can still see!" was cut by censors. No footage of this is known. However, the movie does end rather abruptly just as Dr. Xavier seems about to say something, and those words would provide a chilling climax to the story. This rumor is false according to Corman - In a Q&A with Corman he said this idea was discussed but never filmed.

Notes

Copyright title: X.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1963

Released in United States 1996

Spectarama

Released in United States 1963

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (MoMA) as part of program "Scorsese at the Movies: The Martin Scorsese Collection at the Museum of Modern Art" June 28 - September 12, 1996.)