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Mind Benders, The (1962)

Dirk Bogarde plays research physiologist Dr Henry Longman, whose personality is changed by experiments on the effects of isolation in this captivating British sci-fi film.

Wearing a rubber suit – that, as Wendy Craig says, brings German cabaret to Oxford – Longman is suspended in a body-temperature bath that eliminates sensory experience and then exposed to lies about his wife (Mary Ure) that take root in a way that is said to offer evidence about brainwashing.

The stages of loneliness, panic and hallucination that Longman goes through in the isolation tank are very harrowing to watch – but no doctor in the world would be frivolous enough to undergo again an experiment that he knew had already seriously disturbed him merely for the sake of a Government layman who wanted to watch some fireworks, like Major Hall (John Clements). He would show him the existing experimental records instead.

The film boasts some fine performances from a strong cast of the UK’s acting greats – not to mention the screen debut of Edward Fox.

Dr Henry Longman
Dirk Bogarde
Oonagh Longman
Mary Ure
Major Hall
John Clements
Dr Tate
Michael Bryant
Wendy Craig
Professor Sharpey
Harold Goldblatt
Geoffrey Keen
Terry Palmer
Edward Fox

Basil Dearden