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X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES

Although X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES ($15) is movie that I haven't seen since my childhood, it remains one heck of a cool "B" science fiction movie. In fact, 1963's X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES may be the best and most thought provoking sci-fi flick to come out of American International Pictures. Ray Milland stars in this Roger Corman directed effort as Dr. James Xavier, a scientist who wants to push the human sense of sight to its fullest potential. When his research funding is cut off, Xavier experiments on himself, using the eye drops he has developed to expand the spectrum that his eyes can perceive. At first, he has the slight ability to see through objects, but his arrogance drives him to continue the experiments to his own ruination- giving him horrifying sight beyond what any human mind was intended to see.

Ray Milland gives a great performance as Xavier, one that elevates the film beyond the scope of it low budget origins. Comedian Don Rickles also gives a surprisingly strong dramatic performance as the carny grifter, who has his own plans for Xavier's newly developed abilities. Corman's direction is tight and efficient, yet he allows his actors the leeway to flesh out their characters. Although dated, the film's special effects remain intriguing because they try to depict the world in a way that no human being has ever seen it. The solid cast of X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES also includes Diana Van der Vlis, Harold Stone, John Hoyt and Dick Miller.

 

MGM Home Entertainment has made X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES available on DVD in a wide screen presentation that has been framed at 1.85:1, in addition to having been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer is quite nice, producing an image that provides good levels of sharpness and detail. Colors are strongly rendered, with solid saturation and no signs of smearing. Flesh tones have the look of a Hollywood makeup department, but are faithfully reproduced. Blacks are pretty solid looking and for a low budget affair of this vintage, plus there is decent shadow detail in the darker scenes. The film element used for the transfer does show a number of age related blemishes and some noticeable grain, but neither detracts from what is otherwise a fine video presentation. Digital compression artifacts keep a very low profile throughout.

X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES features a clean sounding Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack that is free from appreciable distortion or hiss. The expected frequency limitations in these older recordings primarily affect Les Baxter's music, which sounds a bit tinny. Some of the sound effects are less than convincing, but that's what happens when one gets spoiled listening to so many modern soundtracks. Dialogue is always intelligible, plus that actors voices maintain their distinctive character. Subtitles are provided on the DVD in French and Spanish.

 

The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well a couple of cool extras. Director Roger Corman is featured on a running audio commentary track. Corman's talk is well though out, informative and rather entertaining, thanks the director's agreeable personality. Also included on the DVD is the film's original theatrical prologue and theatrical trailer.

X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES is solid sci-fi entertainment that genre fans are going to want to own on DVD because of MGM's solid 16:9 enhanced presentation, low price and Roger Corman commentary.

 
X: THE MAN WITH X-RAY EYES 


X - The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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