X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes
Runtime: 1h 19m
Director: Roger Corman
Writers: Robert Dillon, Ray Russell
Stars: Ray Milland, Diana Van der Vlis, Harold J. Stone
“I’m blind to all but a tenth of the universe.”
“My dear friend, only the gods see everything.”
“My dear doctor, I’m closing in on the gods.”
Initial: Maybe more of a science fiction movie than horror, but X is a hard letter to fill.
Production Notes: In his book Danse Macabre, Stephen King claims there was a possible different ending to X. Roger Corman denies this rumor.
What Did I Think:
Roger Corman always does what he can with what he has. The effects in X are not great. Most of what we see the world through Dr. Xavier’s eyes* is a confusing rainbow jumble. I shudder to think of the headache it probably would have induced on a big screen… But Ray Milland’s subdued manner sells the dread of seeing everything, maybe even things the human eye wasn’t meant to see.
And the plot asks: What would you do if you had X-ray eyes? What would you be allowed to do? Xavier starts out as a scientist, but ends up as a mentalist and a card sharp. The best performance in X, though, belongs to Don Rickles, playing a skeevy, menacing carnie.
*Yes, his name is James Xavier—fun fact Professor X of the X-Men comics debuted the same month and year as this film: September of 1963.