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The Mind Benders (1963)

Dedicated British scientist Dr. Henry Laidlaw Longman (Sir Dirk Bogarde) tests the possibility of brainwashing. If the experiment succeeds, he will stop loving his wife Oonagh (Mary Ure).


Basil Dearden


James Kennaway (original screenplay)


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Cast overview:
Dirk Bogarde ... Dr. Henry Laidlaw Longman
Mary Ure ... Oonagh Longman
John Clements John Clements ... Major Hall
Michael Bryant ... Dr. Danny Tate
Wendy Craig ... Annabella
Harold Goldblatt Harold Goldblatt ... Professor Sharpey
Geoffrey Keen ... Calder
Terry Palmer Terry Palmer ... Norman
Norman Bird ... Aubrey


A British scientist is discovered to have been passing information to the Communists, then kills himself. Another scientist, Dr. Henry Laidlaw Longman (Sir Dirk Bogarde) 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 Oonagh (Mary Ure).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A love affair destroyed by an experiment that defies the human mind! See more »


Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

25 March 1963 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mind Benders See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This Sir Dirk Bogarde movie was the inspiration for the name of the British band "Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders". See more »


The communication chord is pulled and the professor jumps from the train but a shot of the engine shows that it's is now numbered 5056. See more »


Dr. Henry Laidlaw Longman: I'm tired. I'm tired of the stupidity that makes a crime out of discovery.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »


Featured in Out of this World Super Shock Show (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Really? Isolation causes mental instability?
25 March 2008 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

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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