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X – The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

Entry updated 21 May 2018. Tagged: Film.

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Film (1963; vt The Man with the X-Ray Eyes). Alta Vista/AIP. Directed by Roger Corman. Written by Robert Dillon, Ray Russell, based on a story by Russell. Cast includes John Dierkes (uncredited), John Hoyt, Ray Milland, Don Rickles, Harold J Stone and Diana Van Der Vlis. 88 minutes cut to 80 minutes. Colour.

A surgeon, Dr James Xavier (Milland), uses an experimental Drug to expand the range of his visual Perception with ultra-violet and X-ray vision, and thus perform operations more skilfully; but the process affects his mind. He accidentally kills a colleague (Stone) and hides in a carnival sideshow where he is exploited as a faith healer. His Superpower of X-ray Perception becomes a metaphor for insight into all the ugliness and sadness of life. A series of events brings appalling visions which alienate him progressively from ordinary, unseeing humanity. Finally he encounters an evangelist (Dierkes) holding a religious meeting in the desert; when the man cries "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out!", Xavier does just that. Though close to being a Poverty Row product (the special effects are not quite up to showing Dr Xavier's ability to "see through the centre of the Universe") this bleak film is sometimes considered Corman's masterpiece.

The novelization is X (1963) by Eunice Sudak. [PN/JB/DRL]

see also: Cinema.

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