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The Brain Machine [DVD]
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Patrick Barr and Scotland Yard stalwart Russell Napier star in this noir-tinged mid-fifties thriller, a rarely seen early feature by Ken Hughes later to score box-office hits with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the BAFTA-nominated The Trials of Oscar Wilde. Produced at Merton Park Studios for Anglo-Amalgamated, The Brain Machine is presented here in a brand-new transfer from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.
A murderer, Edward Jarrit, is brought into a mental health institution to be tested by Dr Philippa Roberts using an electro-encephalograph the remarkable machine that can reveal abnormalities within the brain. At the same hospital, a man suffering from amnesia is questioned under the influence of a drug; he reveals his name and states that his life is in danger. After examining him on the 'brain machine', Philippa is alarmed to find the results are identical to those of Jarrit...
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The fact that Maxwell Reeds character is so obnoxiously unlikable means one cares very little about him or the outcome of this slow moving "thriller"
A computer experiments on people's minds. It can read their thoughts and send impulses to their brain. Four people volunteer for the experiment. The military is interested in the device so they can do domestic spying on the citizens, McCarthy era style. The military's computer ties into the brain machine to instruct the subjects.
The dialouge was bad. The music was the classic 1950's kettle drum drama style, used in B movies, which I love. The acting also left a lot to be desired and the special effects didn't materialize. Even when a guy gets shot, the fighting was behind bushes, you hear a gun shot and then there is a man with a splash of red paint on him laying on the ground.
The picture on the box has nothing to do with this movie. It might do well as an MST-3000 flick. Whoever burned this bomb to DVD owes me two dollars.
This is a scene where a woman is sleeping. A man slips into her room and unbuttons the top 2 buttons on her shirt!That is the pillar of the sexual content advertised on the box.
An experiment is performed to see if "truth" can be told with the hope that the results can correct all the ills of mankind and pollution to boot. The subjects are carefully chosen based on the objective.
Unknown to our guinea pigs and testing staff, the experiment was usurped by the military for nefarious purposes; anyone objecting is dispatched.
Naturally the computers and guinea's are not suited for the plan. This is a brain teaser as everyone has to confess they lied. More insidious is the fact that the computer can not understand that the subject does not believe he can die and sets out to prove this. This becomes a compressing problem.
How will it end? Or will it end? What would you do in the situation?
The title may conjure up images of a sci-fi/horror movie, but this Anglo-Amalgamated Production is mostly an urban crime tale, with Frank Smith (Maxwell Reed) as the agitated, angry young man who following an accident which leaves him with amnesia & a belief that his life is in danger, is now attending a mental health institution for tests conducted with "The Brain Machine" of the title. Eventually he leaves before taking one of the doctors (Elizabeth Allan) along with him at gunpoint, while she desperately pleads with him to accept help for his condition.
The movie's entertainment value is enhanced thanks to some welcome location shooting and writer & director Ken Hughes' tight & well-paced direction, which keeps the whole thing rattling along nicely. While handling his lead role very well, Reed's portrayal of the moody and unpredictable Smith is effective, as he occasionally seems to be accepting the helpful overtures of his captive, then pulls away quickly. In fact, all the performances are solid from the dependable cast which includes Patrick Barr, John Horsley, Edwin Richfield, Russell Napier (Scotland Yard) as well as fairly brief appearances from Vanda Godsell & Bill Nagy (also look out for a young Anthony Valentine)... All in all a decent B-movie crime thriller from the mid-50s.
I enjoy older films like this and was reasonably entertained. 3 stars.
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