Fantastic Fest: 'X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes'
Roger Corman = Standing O. Obviously.
By Kimberley Jones, 7:30PM, Sat. Sep. 25, 2010
"This is going to be something you remember for the rest of your lives, and if your grandchildren are cool enough, you're going to to be able to tell them about this day."
That was FF programmer Lars Nilsen, prefacing Saturday afternoon's screening of the Roger Corman classic X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes. Nilsen – looking both giddy and exhausted – introduced a terrific-looking print of the 1963 sci-fi melodrama, which starred Oscar winner Ray Milland (The Lost Weekend) as a doctor who experiments on himself – hence he title's x-ray eyes – to disastrous effect.
Roger Corman was welcomed post-screening with a standing ovation, and he sat, like a placid, smiling Buddha, and spoke about the experience of shooting the film and his career in general. Nilsen pointed out that though Corman is often shorthanded as the King of Schlock, his on-the-cheap pictures were consistently superior to the competition.
"A couple of films I'm not totally delighted with … but I gave it my best shot every time," Corman responded modestly.
Although X is one of his favorites, interestingly, it's also one of his only films that he'd consider remaking. The reason? "The special effects reflected the state of the art in 1960," but he was excited about what modern technology could do for Dr. Xavier's x-ray vision.
He also spoke about Vincent Price, the leading man of his Poe cycle. "He was a very interesting and cultured man, and brilliant actor – very easy to work with," he said "He could bring humor to [drama]." When Corman started to inject humor into the later Poe films, Corman reflected, "Vincent was very enthusiastic about that."
He named The Pit and the Pendulum as one of his personal favorite, as well as The Intruder, which Corman described as being "about racial integration in the American South" starring a "young actor named Bill Shatner." The film got great reviews in the mainstream press… and, Corman laughed, "It was the first movie I made that lost money."