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At the time of The man with the X-ray eyes Ray Milland's career had long since established itself in the B-movie and, above all, TV sector. A superstar, film noir veteran and Oscar winner in the 40s (for his famous performance as a hopeless drinker in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend), he was still in great demand in the early 50s (e.g. in Hitchcock’s On Call: Murder). Now we are in the early 60s and the big role offers stayed out for those in their mid-fifties. Roger Corman came at the right time. After their first cooperation in Lebendig Buried, he promptly committed him to this production, which was received extremely positively at the time and is now considered a (small) classic of science fiction cinema.

Milland plays Doctor James Xavier. His developed serum is supposed to bring the previously unused 90% of the human eye to life. Financially soon put on hold, he is running out of time and so he dares to try on himself with full conviction. With success. Suddenly he sees more than he sometimes would like. With this ability, not only does a lively tea dance turn into a revealing nudity event, but you can really do good. This is how Dr. Xavier found a colleague's malpractice at the last second, as a normal x-ray machine looks old against his razor-sharp view under any surface. But then everything goes wrong. In an argument, he accidentally kills his partner and has to flee. At a fair he goes into hiding as a clairvoyant, but has long been obsessed and dependent on his miracle drug, the great possibilities of which turn bit by bit into a hopeless, personal nightmare from which there can only be a consistent escape.

The man with the X-ray eyes uses the classic material of the brilliant scientist who falls victim to his own ambition and the creation he has created himself. Superficially intended for the benefit of mankind, but in truth it is mainly intended to caress one's own ego and advance into divine spheres. Thematically thus roughly comparable with works like Frankenstein or Die Fliege, whereby Corman this time only touched the horror genre minimally. Rather, the tragic aspect of the figure should be in the foreground, at least it seems so. The story is a bit too thin for that, however, and is nothing more than a cheap B-movie, the Mad Scientist content mentioned with science fiction and light Hitchcock-Bonds (the - more or less - innocent on the run) mixed up. That looks more like a solid episode Twilight Zone with some good approaches, but even in his best moments they don't even come close to the astonishing high-quality work of at the time Corman reaches. Compared to his atmospherically wonderful Edgar Allan Poe cycle, just a nice addition. The supposedly revolutionary Spectarama process doesn't change anything, which is just a spectacular description for a rather unspectacular image filter. Well Ray Milland With his always mentally deranged appearance, however, fits the role wonderfully and the finale is definitely worth remembering on a small scale.

Conclusion

Author: Jacko Kunze