THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND (1936) Reviews of Boris Karloff mad doctor movie

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The Man Who Changed His Mind is a 1936 British science fiction horror film about an unstable scientist intent on transferring human minds. Unfortunately, he becomes vengeful when his magnate patron withdraws his support.

Directed by Robert Stevenson from a screenplay co-written by L. du Garde Peach [as L. Du Garde Peach], associate producer Sidney Gilliat and John L. Balderston. Produced by Michael Balcon.

The Gainsborough Pictures production stars Boris Karloff, John Loder, Anna Lee, Frank Cellier, Donald Calthrop, Cecil Parker and Lyn Harding.

Doctor Laurience (Boris Karloff), a once-respectable scientist, begins to research the origins of the mind and soul in an isolated manor house, aided only by the promising surgeon Clare Wyatt (Anna Lee) and a wheelchair-using compatriot named Clayton (Donald Calthrop). The scientific community rejects his theories and Laurience risks losing everything for which he has worked so obsessively.


To save his research, Laurience (pronounced “Lorenz”) begins to use his discoveries in brain transference for his own nefarious purposes, replacing the mind of philanthropist Lord Haslewood (Frank Cellier) with the personality of the crippled, caustic Clayton. With Lord Haslewood’s wealth and prestige at his command, Laurience becomes an almost unstoppable mad scientist…

Reviews [contain spoilers]:
The Man Who Changed His Mind is endearingly bipolar, opening in a Gothic milieu before descending into delightfully dated puerility. Karloff, Calthrop, and Cellier have adolescent fun switching identities. Even Loder gets the opportunity to drop his dense David Manners persona when he channels Karloffian thoughts.” 366 Weird Movies

” …the scenes which find Clayton in his new body adjusting to the advantages and disadvantages of being Lord Haslewood are wonderfully funny—and vitally, are so in a manner completely organic to the plot. Throw these into the mix with some batty science and an even battier scientist, some well-deserved satire of the Fourth Estate, and a young couple in the process of taking their era’s gender stereotypes and turning them inside-out and the result is tiny gem of a film that deserves to be much better known.” And You Call Yourself a Scientist!?

“Boris Karloff, alone, is worth watching the movie for. He’s just great as the unfairly maligned genius, the evil schemer and even the tragic victim of his own hubris. The screenplay’s dialogue is fun too. Sometimes it comes too fast, but there are a great many exchanges.” Classic Sci-Fi Movies

“If a Karloff fan this is a must-see, he gives one of his best performances. Others should be more cautious. Donald Calthrop is funny as the cripple with an acerbic tongue. Cecil Parker is good as the doubting Thomas scientist, who sneers with relish at the experiment.” Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews

“This production was favored with a first-rate script courtesy of John L. Balderstone who wrote so many classic Universal horrors and Sidney Gillet who became world famous for Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes and Jamaica Inn […] The film benefits greatly from the performances of the supporting cast…” DVD Drive-In

“Karloff gives a relaxed but confident performance in the type of role that would soon be all too common for him, and it’s directed with a good pace and a nice visual sense, particularly during a rather nightmarish montage sequence. However, the movie is stolen by two character roles…” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“The plot does an entertainingly vigorous job of twisting and turning around on itself within the film’s relatively slim (62 minutes) running time. In particular, Frank Cellier gives quite a good performance in adopting different mannerisms after his body is taken over by the wheelchair-ridden Clayton. Karloff invests the scientist with relatively more sympathy than most of his ilk were portrayed throughout this decade.” Moria

“Karloff’s performance is quite different to other mad scientists he’s played, from his way of speaking, to his physical mannerisms, more high pitched and hunched over. While we know he’s correct in his theories, he comes across as a crackpot very well, and his quick to anger demeanour in the second half works well. He’s downright terrifying in some shots!” Not This Time, Nayland Smith

“Not a bad film though at times it seems to not be sure what kind of film it is supposed to be. Sometimes it is an enjoyable and sinister science-fiction horror but at others it is rather marred by average humour though the scene where Clayton (now as Lord Haslewood) wings it in a board meeting is great.” Quota Quickie

“The filming saw Boris Karloff back home in Britain for the first time after his tremendous success with Frankenstein (1931), and the change of scenery seems to have done him good, as he delivers one of his best performances, surrounded by a superb co-cast and working from a fast-paced, funny and witty script.” Scifist

“The film is driven by a tight, expertly paced script that presents just the right mixture of horror and humor to make both aspects as effective as possible, especially given that most of the humor is of a pitch-black variety. The cast is also excellent and everyone is perfect for their parts and talented enough to bring depth to even the thinnest of characters.” Shades of Gray

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