Review: ‘The Mind Benders’

James Kennaway's original screenplay finds the peg for its bizarre plot in 'reduction of sensation' experiments reportedly done both in the US and Britain. By eliminating a subject's various senses by submerging him in an isolation tank a shortcut to brainwashing is achieved. Once the basic story pattern has been established, it moves into a fascinating study of how a man's mind can be twisted by a laboratory technique.

James Kennaway’s original screenplay finds the peg for its bizarre plot in ‘reduction of sensation’ experiments reportedly done both in the US and Britain. By eliminating a subject’s various senses by submerging him in an isolation tank a shortcut to brainwashing is achieved. Once the basic story pattern has been established, it moves into a fascinating study of how a man’s mind can be twisted by a laboratory technique.

Suicide of elderly scientist Harold Goldblatt prompts an investigation by secret agent John Clements to determine whether military security has been violated. Clements suspects Goldblatt has turned traitor. But the scientist’s associate, Dirk Bogarde, denies any treason has been committed and blames Goldblatt’s death as a result of the experiments. Bogarde voluntarily submits to isolation to prove his theory.

Under Basil Dearden’s firm direction, the cast absorbingly captures suspense and gruesome space age qualities frequently generated by Kennaway’s script. Bogarde emerges as a dedicated scientist who shades his role with lotsa realism. Mary Ure’s portrayal of the spurned wife is a touching piece of thesping.

The Mind Benders

UK

Production

Novus/Anglo-Amalgamated. Director Basil Dearden; Producer Michael Relph; Screenplay James Kennaway; Camera Denys Coop; Editor John D. Guthridge; Music Georges Auric; Art Director James Morahan

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Dirk Bogarde Mary Ure John Clements Michael Bryant Wendy Craig Edward Fox

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