Dr. Xavier develops eye drops intended to increase the range of human vision, allowing one to see beyond the visible spectrum. Believing that testing on animals and volunteers will produce ... See full summary »
Dr. James Xavier is a world renowned scientist experimenting with human eyesight. He devises a drug, that when applied to the eyes, enables the user to see beyond the normal realm of our sight (ultraviolet rays etc.) it also gives the user the power to see through objects. Xavier tests this drug on himself, when his funding is cut off. As he continues to test the drug on himself, Xavier begins to see, not only through walls and clothes, but through the very fabric of reality!Written by
Roger Corman is often passed over as merely a B-movie director, but films like this one really show his brilliance. The Man with X-Ray Eyes is chilling, ingenious and highly original; and this becomes even more impressive when you consider that the film was shot on a shoestring budget of just $300,000. Because of this, Corman doesn't go overboard with the special effects, and as such; the film concentrates on the implications of the lead character's predicament. This actually helps the film, as the idea behind what is happening is far more chilling than how it has actually happened. The plot follows a doctor doing research into the eye. After discovering a new drug that can give its taker X-ray vision, he decides to test it on himself due to lack of funds. Before long, he finds that he is able to see through people's clothes (surely a useful ability), as well as walls and other surfaces. However, this new capability soon takes its toll on the good doctor, as he loses the ability to shut out the light, and after a tragic event; he has to find a new way to make a living.
Ray Milland, who worked with Corman previously on the Poe adaptation 'Premature Burial', takes the lead and gives a great portrayal of the doctor at the centre of the story. Milland is great at portraying a strain on a character, and that ability is put to best use in this film. The story is frightening because, as is said at one moment in the film, we only get one pair of eyes and therefore that pair is precious. The idea of not being able to cut out the light is frightening also, as while many people would see X-ray vision as an asset, this film does well in disputing that. The way that Corman portrays the 'X-ray vision' makes best use of the budget available and actually works rather well, as we get treated to seeing the world through the eyes of the lead character. The way that the story pans out isn't particularly original, but it works in that it's believable and provides a good backdrop for the major focus of the film. Overall, The Man with X-Ray Vision is proof that a film can work in spite of a limited budget, and while Corman may not be the best director of all time; he certainly knows how to make B-movies!
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