The Mind Benders (1963 film)

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The Mind Benders
"The Mind Benders" (1963).jpg
U.S. theatrical poster
Directed by Basil Dearden
Written by James Kennaway
Based on The Mindbenders
1963 novel
by James Kennaway
Produced by Michael Relph
Starring Dirk Bogarde
Mary Ure
John Clements
Michael Bryant
Cinematography Denys N. Coop
Edited by John D. Guthridge
Music by Georges Auric
Novus (Michael Relph Productions)
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated (UK)
Release dates
21 February 1963 (London)
1 May 1963 (United States)
Running time
109 min
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£210,781 [1]

The Mind Benders is a 1963 British thriller film produced by Michael Relph, directed by Basil Dearden and starring Dirk Bogarde, Mary Ure, John Clements, Michael Bryant and Wendy Craig. [2] Screenwriter James Kennaway turned his screenplay into his 1963 novel of the same name.


American International Pictures released the film in the U.S. as a double feature with Operation Bikini .


Professor Sharpey, working in a university research laboratory, is suspected of passing secrets to the Soviet Union and commits suicide. British intelligence believe that his suicide was the result of shame over his betrayal of his country. However, Sharpey's former colleague Doctor Longman believes that the sensory-deprivation experiments that Sharpey was conducting on himself may have rendered him susceptible to brainwashing. He volunteers to undergo the same tests in order to prove his theory. An intelligence officer and a colleague test the theory by trying to brainwash Longman against his beloved wife. [3]




In a contemporary review for The New York Times , critic Howard Thompson called the film an "experiment that doesn't hold water" and wrote: "Credit the Dearden-Relph unit for a smoothly machined drama, not entirely convincing but at least original ... [T]he film slides downhill toward the conclusion that love conquers all, even science. The finale is a highly circumstantial childbirth. Mr. Bogarde, whose coiled, jittery behavior has no place in a 'top secret' laboratory, also murmurs something about experimental freedom." [4]

In a modern-day review, TV Guide called the film "a strange movie that leaves a deeper impression than one might expect due to the originality of the plot and the tense direction. It is the direct predecessor of Altered States ." [5]

The film was a box office disappointment. [6]

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  1. Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 360
  2. "BFI | Film & TV Database | The MIND BENDERS (1963)". 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. "The Mind Benders (1963) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  4. Thompson, Howard (2 May 1963). "'The Mind Benders,' a Dearden-Relph Film". The New York Times . p. 40.
  5. "The Mind Benders Review". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  6. "Move Towards Bigger Budget Films". Variety. 27 November 1963. p. 19.