The Mind of Mr. Soames

Last updated

The Mind of Mr Soames
"The Mind of Mr. Soames" (1970).jpg
Directed byAlan Cooke
Written by John Hale
Edward Simpson
Based onnovel by Charles Eric Maine
Produced by Max Rosenberg
Milton Subotsky
Starring Terence Stamp
Nigel Davenport
Robert Vaughn
Cinematography Billy Williams
Edited by Bill Blunden
Music byMichael Dress
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
Running time
92 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States [1]

The Mind of Mr. Soames is a 1970 British-American sci-fidrama film directed by Alan Cooke and starring Terence Stamp, Robert Vaughn and Nigel Davenport about a man who awakens from a 30 year coma with an immature brain. [1] [2] The film is based on Charles Eric Maine's 1961 novel of the same name. [3] [4]



John Soames is a thirty-year-old man who has been in a coma since a brain injury during birth. Now revived, he shows the behaviour of a child and is monitored by two doctors attempting to find out if he can be rehabilitated into the adult world. One English doctor, Dr. Maitland, is only interested in educational activities and he works John until he stops interacting and refuses to eat. Another doctor, the American Dr. Bergen suggests play for its own sake would have benefits and he brings a bouncy ball into John's room. John is soon interacting again and eating once more.

During all this time, John has met no women, nor any schooling in morality. Eventually, John is allowed outside into the natural world by Dr. Bergen and he delights in it, drinking water from a pool by dipping his head in. Dr. Maitland finds out and returns John to his room. Again, John becomes distressed. The men talk to him a great deal but John has fewer words, and although he appears to understand, when he is told to wait six months until he goes outside again, he does not know how long that will be.

John breaks free, having struck an orderly with a wooden chair and knocked him out, nearly killing him. He runs through woods until he reaches a river where he sleeps. The next day, he sees a busy road for the first time. A man stops his car thinking he is a hitch-hiker. The man chats whilst John is silent. John gets out, finds a pub and helps himself to some food without paying. A woman offers him a drink, a glass of bitter that John spits out on the floor that attracts intense attention from the pub crawlers. A man comes to help the barmaid, saying he owes money. John is ejected from the pub.

He passes a school playground and attempts to join a group of children who are playing with a ball. John takes the ball where he creates a scene with the schoolchildren and their teacher. He runs away once again and it gets dark.

John helps himself a coat from a car parked outside someone's house. The owner shouts at him, John runs and is hit by a car. The couple stop and get him into their car. The woman wants to take him to a hospital but the man says they'll call the police (he has been drinking), so they drive John to their house. The woman puts him in the spare bedroom.

The next day, the woman offers to clean him, and asks what he remembers. John says a few words and the woman thinks he is in shock. She suggests he was injured by an unknown hit-and-run driver, and the woman found him by the side of the road. John eats breakfast and the woman announces his name - she has seen a newspaper. She says he is wanted for attempted murder upon the orderly. She accepts that he was locked up by bad people. John touches her hair and she says she cannot recall the last time her husband was half as gentle.

John leaves before the police come to the house but . He manages to get a train ticket and uses money from the coat he has on. The doctors are still in pursuit. On the train, John talks very slowly to a nervous teenaged girl with his limited vocabulary. The girl drops her violin and as John goes to help her he puts his hand on hers and the girl screams repeatedly and pulls the emergency brake. As the train stops, John hops off and runs away through the countryside with the girl telling a guard that John tried to attack her.

Eventually, the police use dogs to follow John across the countryside to a barn. The doctors arrive. Maitland threatens to 'get angry' if he doesn't come out. The other doctor, Bergen, says to be calm. He goes in and speaks to John and realises John has hurt his leg (falling from the train). Bergen offers medicine from his car and says he won't force John to go with him, it is John's decision. John asks him not to go and then follows him out into the rain. Meanwhile, two young journalists reporting on John's history from the institute are watching from a car. The man's hand is poised over a switch.

Suddenly, a bright light dazzles John and the dogs start barking. In panic, John spins round and round with the pitchfork he holds. He lets go and it spins out, hitting Bergen. When John realizes what he has done, he broke into tears and collapses. People step forward and place him on a stretcher. Bergen is in pain but all right. Bergen's assistant gets into the van beside John and says his name kindly. John, who looks traumatised, gradually turns to look at him and reaches out a hand. Bergen's assistant takes it. They drive away leaving Maitland standing in the rain until the two students drive over to pick him up.



The Mind of Mr. Soames was an attempt by Amicus Productions to branch into the non-horror field (they had also tried to option the rights to Flowers for Algernon but had been unable to secure them). The large budget was provided by Columbia Pictures. [5]


The film was released in theatres on 12 October 1970 in the United States, 26 March 1971 in Ireland, 18 June 1971 in Mexico. It was released on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on 4 March 2011. [6]


Box office

The Mind of Mr. Soames was a failure at the box office. [5]

Critical response

Roger Greenspun of The New York Times wrote in his review:

"There are some movies that do nothing right, no matter how well they do it, and such a movie is The Mind of Mr. Soames, not that it does anything well. But with each scene, each camera movement, each gesture from its large and dispirited cast, The Mind of Mr. Soames, which opened yesterday at the Cinema 57 Rendezvous, displays an emptiness and a falseness of response that is beneath even the inadequacy of its ideas and the banality of its plot.

"John Soames (Terence Stamp), in a coma for all of his 30 years, is finally brought to life by the super surgery of Dr. Bergen (Robert Vaughn) so that he may be educated according to the theories of Dr. Maitland (Nigel Davenport), director of the institute where he had been peacefully sleeping. Between permissive Dr. Bergen and repressive Dr. Maitland a certain ideological conflict develops (e.g. "How often do you play—games—with him?" "Games? What do you mean, games!") that is the first and, I guess, final cause of the melodrama.

"But in the background there is a third doctor (Donal Donnelly), a source of hope who keeps his own counsel, patiently watches the wild child, and incidentally looks a bit like François Truffaut. The Mind of Mr. Soames is full of boldly introduced but ultimately undeveloped character clichés, which add a touch of bogus mystery to a film that is otherwise 100 per cent predictable. For example, Dr. Bergen drinks—too much—but nothing ever comes of it.

"And the callous TV director (Christian Roberts) who willfully almost wrecks Soames's belated childhood—what is his story, full of meaningless dark hints and fitful glimmerings? As Soames himself, a child of Frankenstein dressed in a mansized set of pink Dr. Dentons, without booties, Terence Stamp must have the best fun in the movie. Not only does he get to cry a lot and to play with toys, but he also is allowed at one time or another to dump baby food on all his doctors and keepers—with which inspiration The Mind of Mr. Soames exhausts itself and falls into moral platitude and heavy breathing."

Roger Greenspan, Screen: Wild Child of 30:'Mind of Mr. Soames' [7]

Hal Erickson of Rovi wrote, on Rotten Tomatoes: "The Mind of Mr. Soames can be described as a melodramatic Charly. John Soames (Terence Stamp) is a hospital patient who has been in a coma for 30 years. Doctor Bergen (Robert Vaughn) attempts to revitalize Soames by transplanting an infant's brain in the patient's head. When Soames awakens, he has the mental capacity of a baby, but Dr. Bergen is certain that he can accelerate the maturation process, which he does in a matter of weeks. But the pressure on Soames' emotional stability is such that he tragically snaps during a live TV broadcast. Adapted from a novel by Charles Eric Maine, The Mind of Mr. Soames raises more questions than it can possibly answer, but works well on the level of solid science fiction." [8]

Note the review from Rotten Tomatoes is incorrect as there was not an actual transplant of a baby's brain.

Related Research Articles

<i>The Man with Two Brains</i> 1983 film by Carl Reiner

The Man with Two Brains is a 1983 American science fiction black comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and starring Steve Martin and Kathleen Turner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terence Stamp</span> British actor

Terence Henry Stamp is an English actor. Stamp is known for his sophisticated villain roles. He was named by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Film Stars of All Time in 1995. He has received various accolades including a Golden Globe Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, and a Silver Bear as well as nominations for an Academy Award and two BAFTA Awards.

<i>Making Mr. Right</i> 1987 film by Susan Seidelman

Making Mr. Right is a 1987 American science fiction romantic comedy film directed by Susan Seidelman; starring John Malkovich as Jeff Peters/Ulysses and Ann Magnuson as Frankie Stone.

<i>Dead End</i> (2003 film) 2003 film

Dead End is a 2003 English-language French horror film written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, and starring Alexandra Holden, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Billy Asher, and Amber Smith. It tells the story of a dysfunctional family who find themselves on a never-ending road in the middle of a forest during a routine drive on Christmas Eve, while under pursuit of a mysterious hearse and a woman dressed in white.

<i>Hammer House of Horror</i> 1980 British horror television series

Hammer House of Horror is a British television series made in 1980. An anthology series created by Hammer Films in association with Cinema Arts International and ITC Entertainment, it consists of 13 hour-long episodes, originally broadcast on ITV.

<i>Coma</i> (1978 film) 1978 film by Michael Crichton

Coma is a 1978 American mystery thriller film based on the 1977 novel of the same name by Robin Cook. The film rights were acquired by director Michael Crichton, and the movie was produced by Martin Erlichmann for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The cast includes Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Richard Widmark, and Rip Torn. Among the actors in smaller roles are Tom Selleck, Lois Chiles, and Ed Harris.

<i>Silent Rage</i> 1982 film by Michael Miller

Silent Rage is a 1982 American action crime science fiction film directed by Michael Miller. It stars Chuck Norris as a sheriff who must stop a mentally ill man who goes on a rampage after being granted near-indestructibility in a medical experiment. It grossed $10.5 million on release.

<i>Where Danger Lives</i> 1950 film by John Farrow

Where Danger Lives is a 1950 film noir thriller directed by John Farrow and starring Robert Mitchum, Faith Domergue and Claude Rains.

"You Drive" is episode 134 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on January 3, 1964, on CBS. In this episode, the perpetrator of a fatal hit-and-run is hounded by the car he committed the crime with. Earl Hamner Jr. reprised this story, as he had already used it in the 1954 TV series 'Justice'.

"Join the Club" is the 67th episode overall and the second episode of the sixth season of the HBO television drama series The Sopranos. Written by series creator/executive producer David Chase and directed by David Nutter, it premiered on March 19, 2006 in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harry Davenport (actor)</span> American actor (1866–1949)

Harold George Bryant Davenport was an American film and stage actor who worked in show business from the age of six until his death. After a long and prolific Broadway career, he came to Hollywood in the 1930s, where he often played grandfathers, judges, doctors, and ministers. His roles include Dr. Meade in Gone with the Wind (1939) and Grandpa in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). Bette Davis once called Davenport "without a doubt [. . .] the greatest character actor of all time."

<i>The Man Who Haunted Himself</i> 1970 British film

The Man Who Haunted Himself is a 1970 British psychological thriller film written and directed by Basil Dearden and starring Roger Moore. It is based on the 1957 novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham by Anthony Armstrong, and is a variation on the Jekyll and Hyde story.

<i>The Broken</i> (film) 2008 French film

The Broken is a 2008 French-British horror film written and directed by Sean Ellis and starring Lena Headey.

<i>Mercy Falls</i> 2008 studio album by Seventh Wonder

Mercy Falls is the third studio album by Swedish progressive metal band Seventh Wonder. It is a concept album that tells the story of a victim of a car crash who, upon awakening from a coma, finds himself in the mysterious town of Mercy Falls, a fictional world he has dreamed up in his comatose state.

<i>Army Surgeon</i> 1942 film

Army Surgeon is a 1942 American film directed by A. Edward Sutherland and starring Jane Wyatt and Kent Taylor. The plot is about a female surgeon who pretends to be a nurse so she can serve on the front line during World War I.

<i>The Second Face</i> 1950 film by Jack Bernhard

The Second Face is a 1950 romantic drama film directed by Jack Bernhard and starring Ella Raines as a plain woman whose life is drastically changed by plastic surgery.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anna Maria Marconi</span> Fictional Marvel character

Anna Maria Marconi is a fictional scientist appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She was initially depicted as a love interest of Spider-Man, notably during the time when his body was taken over by Doctor Octopus's mind. She has since been depicted as a close friend to Peter Parker after he regains his mind.

<i>Singing Guns</i> 1950 film by R. G. Springsteen

Singing Guns is a 1950 American Trucolor Western film directed by R. G. Springsteen and starring Vaughn Monroe. The film features three songs by Monroe.

<i>Awake</i> (2021 film) 2021 American science fiction thriller film by Mark Raso

Awake is a 2021 American science fiction thriller film, directed by Mark Raso, from a screenplay he wrote alongside Joseph Raso. It stars Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barry Pepper, Finn Jones, Shamier Anderson, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Elias Edraki, Lucius Hoyos and Gil Bellows.


  1. 1 2 "The Mind of Mr. Soames (1969)". British Film Institute . Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. "The Mind of Mr. Soames". Turner Classic Movies . Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  3. Ashley 2005, p. 95.
  4. Maine, Charles Eric (1961). The Mind of Mr. Soames (1st ed.). London: Hodder & Stoughton. ASIN   B0000CL7EE.
  5. 1 2 Bryce 2000, p. 48.
  6. "The Mind of Mr. Soames". Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . Culver City, California: Sony Pictures Entertainment. 4 March 2011. ASIN   B00460WJBI . Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  7. Greenspun, Roger (13 October 1970). "Screen: Wild Child of 30:'Mind of Mr. Soames' Stars Stamp". The New York Times . New York City . Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  8. Hal Erickson. "The Mind of Mr. Soames: Movie info". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 25 October 2018.