Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ray Milland, Diana Van der Vlis, Harold J. Stone, John Hoyt, Don Rickles
Written by: Robert Dillon, Ray Russell
Directed by: Roger Corman
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 79
Date: 07/01/1963

X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Transparent Trap

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Roger Corman took a break from his Poe series and tackled another ambitious science fiction project, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963). For the lead role of the scientist who experiments on himself, Corman landed an actual Oscar-winner, Ray Milland, who had starred in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend almost 20 years earlier. Just like the title says, Milland develops a special X-ray serum that allows him to see inside the chest of a patient during an operation. But he's soon branded a freak and an outcast and accused of murder. He takes a job on the carnival circuit, "reading" things in people's pockets. Unlike the Poe pictures, Corman did not photograph X in 'scope widescreen and uses colors more sparingly, but he gained plenty of mileage through his cost-saving "X-Ray" special effects. Sadly, when Milland discovers he can see through women's clothes, the film only shows his victims from the knees down or the necks up. Even so, it's a rather inventive little "B" movie, with ambitious, sci-fi appeal.

In 2015, Kino Lorber released an outstanding Blu-ray edition. It comes with two commentary tracks. Roger Corman himself recorded one for the 2001 DVD edition, and scholar Tim Lucas provides a new one. It also includes the TV "prologue" from the 2001 disc. Joe Dante provides an imformative introduction for the Blu-ray, and we get Mick Garris's "Trailers from Hell" episode, and a trailer. The quality, both audio and visual, is fine.

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