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A British scientist is discovered to have been passing information to the Communists, then kills himself. Another scientist decides that they might have brainwashed him by a sensory deprivation technique, but he doesn't know if someone really can be convinced to act against their strongest feelings. So he agrees to be the subject in an experiment in which others will try to make him stop loving his wife. Written by
And I have every limb and organ that a girl should have, except one. I no longer have a shoulder to weep on. A Polish gentleman wore it away with his tears.
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This story was suggested by experiments on "THE REDUCTION OF SENSATION" recently carried out by certain Universities in the United States. The producers whilst making this acknowledgment wish to state, however the the events & characters portrayed are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. See more »
"The Mind Benders" is one of the special breed of adult dramas that appeared in the 1960s (Frankenheimer's "Seconds" is another example). These films mix science fiction elements with straight dramatic ones. The result can be extremely interesting and satisfying on both levels. In the case of this particular film, the scientific aspects are not so much fictional as extrapolated from real experimental findings.
In order to discover the nature of a respected scientist's mental deterioration and the reason for his subsequent suicide, Dr. Longman (wonderfully played by Dirk Bogarde) undergoes the same experiment as his predecessor. He emerges from an isolation tank--in what appears to be a metaphor for re-birth--with virtually a blank mind. He does not at first even remember his own name. In order to test out the reach of the experiment's effects, his colleagues subject him to a devastating emotional test. The results are extremely compelling and dramatically forceful on screen.
Part of the film's success is due to the acting: an underrated Mary Ure again delivers a layered, convincing performance as Longman's wife. And there are several fine supporting roles, with Michael Bryant standing out as Longman's tormented friend and colleague Tate.
The cinematography also contributes greatly to the film's effect: there are several beautifully shot sequences, some of which serve to establish a nearly idyllic life that is about to be shattered.
Most striking of all is the musical score by Georges Auric--the erstwhile member of 'Les Six'--who was better known for his French film scores. His music for "The Mind Benders" has a Mahlerian intensity that supports many scenes admirably.
It's not a great work by any means: the pacing lags in the first half and the denoument seems protracted and slightly forced. There is also an odd nightime sequence involving a dog, with inserted daylight closeups. But director Basil Dearden is probably due for a reassessment some day. "The Mind Benders" is just one of a number of unusual and involving films he directed.
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