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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 »
Subjected to an isolation tank and brainwashed, Dirk Bogarde turns against his wife, Mary Ure
Dirk Bogarde's performance in "The Mind Benders" is a sample of how great an actor he was. There is no movie in which he appears that he does not by himself make far more interesting and watchable. He saves "The Mind Benders" from oblivion, but the overall movie is still at best a slack offering. I'm tempted to rate it a 5, which means mediocre, but for his performance.
The story is about the effects of sensory deprivation on human beings. This is a relevant topic today because of the U.S. use of this as a technique of torture on such prisoners denied basic rights as Jose Padilla. A British intelligence agent, played as a man with a one-tracked mind and demeanor, is seeking to find out why a professor who has sold some secret or other became traitorous; and this professor had subjected himself to an isolation water tank as part of his research.
Dirk does the same, in order to prove to the agent that the prof was not a traitor but had had his mind bent. When the agent sees the effect of the tank on Bogarde, he realizes that he's in a state whereby he will respond to external suggestion and brain washing. He and Bogarde's helper convince Bogarde, in his suggestible post-isolation tank state, that he dislikes his wife, never loved her, and considers her a liability and a tramp. Bogarde, however, seems fully recovered. Still, as the months pass, his behavior toward Ure alters radically. He indeed was brainwashed.
Unfortunately, what could have been a tight and top-notch thriller becomes, for much of its running time, a slow, talky, obvious piece of film with too much exposition and not enough action. Some of the generic tendency of British films to be talky and not edited down also creeps in, making the film drag for an American like me.
The ending pulls it back up, though. It's clever and touching and showcases Bogarde's acting abilities, so that all around the movie becomes at least average, which for me is a 6. There is fine cinematography and music and good support from Wendy Craig. They help too.
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