The Mind Benders (1963) T For Traitor Or Z For Zombie?

The Mind Benders (1963) awesome poster film movie dirk bogarde mary ure 2 mind control cold war

Major Hall (John Clements) follows a man he has been tailing onto a train to Oxford when suddenly the Professor randomly decides to commit suicide. On further investigation he finds a bag filled with cash and reports come in that the Professor had a vacant, lost look upon his face! What was going on? Could he of sold secrets to the Soviets? The Major visits Oxford University to try and unravel the mystery.

Tagline – Out of the Black Pit of the “Hate Machine” Came a Thing – Not a Man!

The Mind Benders (1963) Professor Sharpey (Harold Goldblatt) mind control

Three university scientists start a series of experiments after discovering the works of French Doctor Jean Bonvoulois who had subjected himself to freezing temperatures for many days away from human contact. The theory was it made the mind susceptible to persuasion. Following on these radical experiments they discover the fact that it’s not the freezing conditions that bring on this strange state but actually the isolation!

The Mind Benders (1963) Major Hall (John Clements) mind control

The three experimenters consist of Professor Sharpey (Harold Goldblatt), Doctor Longman (Dirk Bogarde) and Doctor Tate (Michael Bryant). They build a large immersion tank with filled with water at blood temperature, whilst designing a suit to cut out light, smell and touch. To submerge the subject floating in the tank totally devoid of any sensory entanglement. A total loss of sensation, full sensory deprivation. Could this be the perfect conditions for brainwashing or hypnotic suggestion!

The Mind Benders (1963) Dirk Bogarde full sensory deprivationThe Mind Benders (1963) Dirk Bogarde full sensory deprivation deep immersive tank

Opening credits – This story was suggested by experiments on “The reduction of sensation” recently carried out at a certain Universities in the United States.

After the Major accuses Sharpey of being a traitor, Doctor Longman steps up to say it has to of been the experiments that made him a suicidal zombie. Under the fear that Sharpey will be forever branded a traitor to his country. He decides, along with much fear, to go back into the tank for longer to see if the same happens, giving pardon to his friend.

The Mind Benders (1963) Dirk Bogarde) (Michael Bryant mary ureThe Mind Benders (1963) Dirk Bogarde mary ure love

Longman is a fun, doting Dad to four children and a much loving husband to his wonderful free spirited, beautiful wife of 14 years, Oonagh Longman (Mary Ure). A love so strong nothing could possibly break it?

Tagline – A love affair destroyed by an experiment that defies the human mind!

The Mind Benders (1963) mk ultra mind control cold war

Can Doctor Longman exonerate his fellow scientist from the spy accusations? Will the Major believe anything coming out from these experiments? And most importantly can the power of love mend a broken mind and soul?

This British thriller with it’s science fiction meets Cold War edge is directed by Basil Dearden and based on a book of the same name by author James Kennaway.

A Few Wolfman Random Observations

  • Nowhere near the par of excellence that the fantastic John Frankenheimer and Frank Sinatra classic The Manchurian Candidate brought the year before but The Mind Benders makes for a great double bill of Project MK Ultra style related subjects.
  • The deprivation tank scenes are pretty horrific and you can feel the different stages of panic the subject goes through.
  • The scary thing is you know they have really tried these types of experiments, whether to actually try mind control or as they say in the film, it could lead to uses in space flight. All to real.
  • British audiences will probably best know Wendy Craig as the happy suburban housewife from sitcoms like Butterflies but here she plays a party hard saucy minx called Annabella.
  • The canal river boat party scene was wild, like a fever and booze induced firework display mixed with a New Orleans jamboree.

Have you seen it? What did you think? Or if you do see it, let me know? One things for sure, it’s another brilliant performance from that man, Dirk Bogarde.

Thanks for popping by, keep enjoy the movies…. The Wolfman

The Mind Benders (1963) awesome poster film movie dirk bogarde mary ure

Super artwork on this poster.

16 thoughts on “The Mind Benders (1963) T For Traitor Or Z For Zombie?

  1. I have never heard of this one before, thanks for bringing it my attention. I love Dirk Bogarde, but I have to admit that I am not familiar with this film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m slowly working by way through all his films and i’m just in awe at his performances and his movie choices. Not one to shy away from a controversial subject. I’m afraid to say apart from A Bridge To Far and the Doctor series, I didn’t really know him. I now am of the thinking that he is one of the top British actors who doesn’t seem to be as high up on the ranks as he should rightly be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He is one of the best for sure. Check him out in Victim, The Servant, The Patricia Neal Story, The Night Porter and Hunted.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Victim is incredible, loved that one. So many people recommend The Servant that I just need to get on with that one. I don’t know the other three you mention. The Night Porter looks totally bizarre and rather saucy. Added to the list pile along with the other two. Thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The Night Porter is totally disturbing but the performances of Charlotte Rampling and Dirk make it a must see. Hope you get to see them all.

            Liked by 1 person

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