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 »
It took me no less than five attempts in order to watch this film straight from start to finish. This primarily has to do with my personal bad habit of always wanting to watch movies when I should be doing something else (like sleeping!), but it also has to do with the subject matter, which inarguably isn't the most exciting stuff ever told on film. "The Mind Benders" is a mature, sophisticated and fascinatingly intellectual thriller - but let's remain honest - it's also a tiny bit boring and too often just stating the obvious. Even in 1962, scientists must have been aware that phenomena like isolation and brainwashing are likely to negatively affect the test subjects' mental condition and social skills? The supposedly prominent doctors appear genuinely astonished when Dirk Bogarde's character emerges from a water tank and behaves disorientated and unearthly. Well, what do you expect he acts like? Do a little dance? Make a little love?? Get down tonight, perhaps? The script is coherent, albeit very slow-paced, and the character drawings are likable as well as realistic, but the obviousness of the depicted events inevitably causes your attention to wander off. The opening five minutes are absolutely magnificent (and, personally, my sole motivation to not give up on it) and sets the exact right tone for a thoroughly sober film. Whilst on a moving train and amidst a carriage full of passengers, a clearly confused Professor stands up and jumps off the train! The investigating Major is convinced Professor Sharpe acted like a Communist spy with remorse, but his young acolyte Dr. Tate refuses to accept this verdict and seeks the help of Sharpe's former colleague and friend, Dr. Longman. The latter volunteers to undergo a devastating experiment and the scientists quickly learn that eight hours of isolation in a water tank has the same nightmarish effect on people as eight months of intense brainwashing methods. They decide to take the test up to an even more dangerous level and make Dr. Longman believe he doesn't love the wife he's been married to since 12 years and has 4 children with. With a slightly more progressive and perhaps more venturous screenplay, "The Mind Benders" could have been listed alongside the most disturbing thrillers of the 1960's (like "Carnival of Souls", "Seconds or "Blow Up") but now it sadly falls a little short. It's certainly a stylish effort, with wondrous cinematography by Denys Coop and a staggering by George Auric, but unfortunately director Basil Dearden can't materialize the story's immense potential. Heck, even the fantastic opening sequence are nearly ruined by the compulsory happy-ending. "The Mind Benders" isn't fundamental viewing in my humble opinion, but definitely interesting. If you do decide to see the film, make sure you're wide awake and/or high on caffeine.
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