Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 5/21/01
X: The Man with
the X-ray Eyes
1963 (2001) - American
International Pictures (MGM)
review by Todd Doogan of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
79 mins, NR, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, Amaray
keep case packaging, single-sided, single-layered, audio commentary
by producer/director Roger Corman, original theatrical prologue,
theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (16
chapters), languages: English (DD mono), subtitles: French and
Spanish, Closed Captioned
"Said Matthew in
Chapter 5... If thine eye offends thee, pluck it out!"
Academy Award winner Ray Milland plays Dr. Xavier, a medical
researcher who's working on a serum that will open up the spectrum
of possible human sight. According to his math, at the point we're
at now as a species, we're only seeing about 10 percent of what
we're capable of. But what if we could tap the other 90 percent?
What's out there waiting to be seen? After his test monkey dies of a
heart attack, Xavier decides to use himself as his newest test
subject, so that he can personally find out what's waiting for us
outside the realm of normal human sight. From seeing through paper,
to seeing through clothes, Xavier at first finds his new powers
charming. But when he starts to see through flesh, then metal and,
eventually, through the cosmos itself, his mind begins to snap. When
you can't sleep because you can see through your shut eyelids and
into the night sky and directly at the sun, can the mortal mind
truly handle that?
X is one of the cooler Sci-Fi
films out there. It's probably the best film out of the AIP library
and it's the best thing Roger Corman ever had a hand in getting
made. It's pretty dated by today's technical standards, but the
intelligence of the idea is what propels it past kitsch and into the
realm of classic. Roger Corman never spoke down to genre fans, and,
although he's was limited by budget and time, he was always able to
give fans what they wanted. A few years back, Tim Burton had
X on his plate for re-making.
I think that would be a very cool film project, especially with
Burton's sensibilities. Hopefully, Planet
of the Apes didn't kill the project (causing Burton not
to want to do re-makes anymore).
On DVD, X gets very
respectable treatment from MGM. We're given a nice anamorphic
transfer that preserves the film very nicely for home viewing. The
colors are dense, blacks are solid and detail is quite good. The
print exhibits a few flaws here and there, but it's a really nice
showing overall. The sound is mono, but comes across very well for
what it is. Extras include an interesting prologue sequence (that
was attached to the original theatrical showings of the film). It
plays like an old school film strip about the five senses, except it
has a nicely dark tone to it. In terms of video features, you'll
also find the original theatrical trailer. But the big extra on
board is a very informative and thoroughly enjoyable commentary
track with Corman himself. He spends his time going into the writing
process, the casting and effects used in the film. All in all, this
DVD is a nice little package for a classic, B-grade Sci-Fi flick.
I was pretty excited when I heard X
was coming to DVD, and I'm thankful that MGM has treated it with
respect instead of just dumping it. This way, we get to see it and
hear it presented the way it should be.