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The Sleep Room (1998)

 -  Drama  -  31 March 1998 (Canada)
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Based on a true story, this production relates the tale of two American lawyers who try to bring the U.S. government to its knees. In the early 1950s, the CIA funds a Montreal psychiatric ... See full summary »



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Title: The Sleep Room (1998)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leon Pownall ...
Dr. Ewen Cameron
Nathalie Belding
Nicola Cavendish ...
Ruth Farmer
Nurse Stephens
Emmanuel Bilodeau ...
France Castel ...
Flo Langelben
Diego Matamoros ...
Dr. Goldman
Dr. Burns
Sal Rothenberg
Joseph Rauh
Marina Orsini ...
Jane Conroy
Frank Moore ...
Mr. Krantz
Judge Locke
Aaron Rothenberg


Based on a true story, this production relates the tale of two American lawyers who try to bring the U.S. government to its knees. In the early 1950s, the CIA funds a Montreal psychiatric hospital to do some research on mind control. Thirty-some years later, the patients want justice... Written by Steve Richer <>

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Release Date:

31 March 1998 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Le pavillon de l'oubli  »

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Did You Know?


Dr. Ewen Cameron: The rules that come with mental patients are that a third get better, a third get worse and a third remain the same. Do you know what I mean by that?
Nurse Stephens: No, I'm sorry, I don't.
Dr. Ewen Cameron: Psychiatry is smoke'n'mirrors and mumbo-jumbo. My degree isn't worth the paper that it's written on!
[sits on piano angrily]
Nurse Stephens: We didn't get the Smith money did we?
Dr. Ewen Cameron: We didn't deserve the goddamn money! Wilder Penfield got it!
[wolfs down a whole cup of alcohol]
Dr. Ewen Cameron: Well at least he does research.
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User Reviews

Better than I expected true story shocker
12 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I bought this DVD during the blitz sales when Tower Records was going out of business. It looked interesting enough to buy for $5.00, but now that I have watched it, I would have been just as happy paying full price.

The performances were mostly above par, with a few exceptionally believable characters. The production was excellent, as was the directing. What makes this film stand out is being based on a true story of yet another infamous CIA excursion into ruining people's lives. What I was shocked to find out about was how the Canadian government fit into it all as well. The MK- Ultra tests are now infamous, even if primarily to conspiracy theorists. However, this particular test was one that they admitted, and theoretically apologized for.

The film is a bit long, but captivating, at just around 3 hours. The story begins with the patients at a mental hospital with a doctor trying to cope with his own ego and feelings of inadequacies. When he realizes the usefulness of psychotropic drugs and other invasive techniques, he believes he is helping mankind, while unwittingly (at the start) helping the CIA perfect torture techniques while using unwitting human test subjects. Later, after the film establishes the horrors and introduces you to the characters, it switches to the attorneys who take on the CIA in a court case to get admission to fault, and compensation to the remaining victims. A sad story by the end, but one that will last in your mind. Exceptional.

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