Thursday, 18 March 2010

THE MIND BENDERS (1963)


I've always thought that Basil Dearden was an under-rated director but this border-line sci-fi/psychological story really hasn't stood the test of time. The problem is that it starts out as a spy thriller, becomes a psychological thriller and ends up as a domestic drama with the climax of the film being nothing more exciting that a protracted birth scene. Dirk Bogarde (being as overwrought as only he can be on a bad day) undergoes an extended session in a sensory deprivation tank to prove that a colleague who commited suicide was not a traitor. The thought is planted in his mind that his marraige is an unhappy one. Wifey gets pregant, Dirk delivers the baby and is immeadiatly cured of his delusion. End of film. A competent cast which includes Mary Ure as the wife and Michael Bryant as his rather transparently motivated friend look rather unconvinced by it all while John Clements as a secret service man gives new emphasis to the word "stiff" in stiff upper lip. Wendy Craig's character is introduced as the local slut but there is nothing in the film to suggest why and fans of stars in early appearances will spot a young Edward Fox who gets a couple of lines as a student. I tried to watch this a couple of years ago and fell asleep....I wasn;t as lucky this time. Rating **

3 comments:

Autumnforest said...

Nice review! I'm glad for the insight. I looked up a movie one time and somehow got a hold of this title and read up about it and wondered if it was as good as the write up made it sound. Good to know it's fairly lame. No use chasing the mundane, but I still love movies of that era. There's a feel about them that's so Cold War and nostalgic.

Weaverman said...

Totally agree, which is why I sought out a copy. My favourite Basil Dearden from this period is still THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN.

Cerpts said...

LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN. A masterpiece!