THE MIND BENDERS

GB
1963
1hr 49mins
Dir: Basil Dearden
Starring: Dirk Bogarde and Mary Ure

A scientist undergoes sensory deprivation experiments that work too well

This thriller is based on the novel of the same name by James Kennaway, published the same year as the film was produced. The story was suggested by experiments on “The Reduction of Sensation” that had recently been carried out at certain universities in the US. The beginning of the film features some shots at London Paddington station with a dirty ‘King’ Class 4-6-0 No.6015 King Richard III leaving on an express. This is then followed by a scene where a scientist throws himself out of a moving train at night. Although this involved a studio, there is an excellent shot of ‘Castle’ Class 4-6-0 No.5056 Earl of Powis making an emergency break application at an unknown location, and an actual passenger detrainment, though again it is unclear were this was filmed. There are also a couple of the ubiquitous stock shots of expresses passing Carnforth as taken from Brief Encounter (1945), one of a ‘Duchess’ and another featuring a Royal Scot’, plus an additional stock image of a passing night express, likely hauled by a ‘Black Five’.

A stock image of London Paddington. A near-identical night time equivalent has cropped up in The October Man (1947), The Flying Scot (1957) and Serena (1962).
Michael Bryant boards a train at London Paddington. This looks to be the old platform 3.
The ‘Pride of the GWR’. Well not quite. A filthy ‘King’ Class 4-6-0, No.6015 King Richard III slowly pulls away from Paddington.
The journey sequence starts with this. A stock image from the Brief Encounter library. This is an ex-LMS ‘Duchess’ passing through Carnforth.
Where would we have been without Brief Encounter? The need for a railway shot throughout the 1950s and 60s often produced one from the film. This one gives us two as here we see a ‘Royal Scot’ passing through Carnforth in what has proved to be a hugely evocative scene.
This stock image is not from Brief Encounter, but it has appeared in other films including Johnny, You’re Wanted (1956), Six-Five Special (1958), and Snowball (1960). It seems to show a ‘Black Five’.
This excellent shot shows ‘Castle’ Class 4-6-0 No.5056 Earl of Powis coming to a stand amidst much escaping steam. The ’emergency stop’ was probably shot specifically for this film, judging by the following two images.
Michael Bryant has detrained onto the track after the train has come to a halt. The white smoke in the background could be from No.5056.
Michael Bryant makes his way towards the body of the scientist. This gives us a good glimpse of the detail at the rear of the train. The telegraph pole on the left could well be the one seen to the right of the shot of the No.5056 drawing to a stand. What do you think?