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9/10
This isn't a very good film--no, wait a minute--I've changed my mind; it is really quite good, and by that, I mean quite
BrandtSponseller27 June 2005
This is not one of Karloff's better-known films among the mainstream public, but it is very close in quality to the best of his prolific output. It may be shorter and far less grandiose than Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), and especially Bride of Frankenstein (1935), but it touches on many of the same themes as the Frankenstein films while allowing his Karloff his turn in the role of a mad doctor.

Karloff is Dr. Laurience, a well known neuroscientist who had a reputation for being brilliant but whom we learn has developed a reputation as an off-his-rocker quack in the last few years. As The Man Who Changed His Mind opens, we meet the charming young Dr. Clare Wyatt (Anna Lee). A colleague says that this is the last time he will be working with Wyatt. We learn that she is heading off to be Laurience's research assistant. Everyone warns her not to go, especially Wyatt's boyfriend/fiancé-hopeful Dick Haslewood (John Loder), a budding reporter who works for the newspapers owned by his father, Lord Haslewood (Frank Cellier).

Wyatt is determined and a bit stubborn. She heads off to Laurience's manor while basically forbidding Haslewood to go along. He follows anyway. Wyatt soon learns why Laurience has a questionable reputation--he's been experimenting with siphoning off the mind, or the "soul", as he calls it, from monkeys by using sophisticated scientific equipment. Now that Wyatt has arrived and Laurience finally has a capable, trustworthy assistant, he plans on experimenting with two monkeys in an attempt to swap their minds. If that goes well, he says he is going to try the same with humans. Wyatt is disturbed by this, claiming it is highly unethical. But when Lord Haslewood offers financial backing for an exclusive (including copyright ownership) on Laurience's published results, Laurience has the facilities he needs to accelerate his goals. What will be the result of the experiments?

Director Robert Stevenson, whose career interestingly went from hard-boiled genre films to serious dramas before he finally settled into almost exclusively directing live-action Disney classics throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, engenders a thematic and atmospheric kinship to the early 1930s Universal horror classics in the earliest moments of The Man Who Changed His Mind. Thematically, we're first deposited in a clinical, respectable "high science" environment, before our hero(ine) makes a journey to a distant land, first via train, then by coach (which is characteristically driven by someone afraid to complete the journey) to a dingy, Gothic mansion to meet the antagonist. The antagonist has that role more by a compelled disposition than by choice. The journey signifies the transition between a cheery contemporary public façade for scientific endeavors and the "nasty truth" underlying the obsession with the current outgrowth of technology--that it is rooted in the mysterious, dangerous and uncouth "magic" of the alchemists. The mad scientist is in the role of the obsessed alchemist, of course, foolishly toying with God's creations in what amounts to a Satanic bid to become God himself. This is the well-known ideological basis of Dr. Frankenstein, and Stevenson carries it over to the present film.

Interestingly, the trio of screenwriters included John L. Balderston, who not only co-wrote Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, but also the play that formed the basis of Dracula (1931), Universal's first sound horror film of the Gothic era. Dracula features a similar journey at the beginning, even if the surface mechanisms involved in the conflict there are not scientific, but bureaucratic, centering on a real estate deal.

The Man Who Changed His Mind, like the Frankenstein films, uses "gobbledy-gooky" contraptions to fuel its bizarre metaphysics. Also like Frankenstein, the basic principle involved is electricity. In fact, The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) even has a similar plot device to this film, even if it's not so much the focus there. Laurience's motivation here may be more selfish than Dr. Frankenstein's--he's ultimately trying to find a way to prolong his own life, but this make him no less dangerous as an antagonist.

Balderston and his co-writers Sidney Gilliat and L. du Garde Peach also go a bit further in trying to get at difficult scientific and philosophical issues here concerning "what is mind?" Of course, they can't quite give an answer, but that's not surprising, as a few hundred years of work from philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists and such hasn't exactly provided an answer yet, either. Because of this, and for other ex-positional reasons, The Man Who Changed His Mind sometimes has very fast, "thick" dialogue (this is probably exacerbated by the 60-some minute running time, as well), but the dialogue never becomes burdensome. Audiences in this era were expected to be quicker and more intelligent. It's quite refreshing. The script also has more biting humor than one might expect, but you have to listen closely to make sure you do not miss some of the odder and more scathing jokes.

As it is heavy on dialogue and light on environment changes and things like special effects (aside from the Frankenstein devices), films like this must ultimately succeed or fail on the performances. Karloff is entrancing, complex and convincingly obsessive, even if he's not exactly playing the kind of guy you'd like to take out for a few beers. Lee is a delight as a headstrong, intelligent, powerful woman--especially given that this wasn't the norm for genre films of the era. Donald Calthrop is excellent as a feisty quadriplegic, and Cellier does a fantastic job in a demanding role that requires drastic changes of character.

If there's a flaw, it's merely that the short running time makes the film feel a bit lighter than it should. But Karloff fans and any fans of genre films of this era can't afford to miss this one.
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10/10
A Forgotten Karloff Masterpiece
ferbs5417 December 2007
What a delightful surprise this little movie turned out to be! I had read in Michael Weldon's "Psychotronic Encyclopedia" that "The Man Who Changed His Mind" was a seldom-seen Karloff film that was considered to be quite excellent, but until last night had never seen it before. The film turns out to be a beautifully done piece on the by-now-overdone theme of mind/body transfer. It is impeccably acted by the entire cast, features gorgeous black-and-white photography and great use of shadow, stylish direction, more-than-adequate effects and a witty script. The picture really does MOVE; there are no wasted scenes or sluggish passages to speak of whatsoever. Anna Lee, who would costar with Karloff again 10 years later in the 1946 picture "Bedlam," is excellent (and beautiful) here as Karloff's assistant, and the actor Frank Cellier almost steals the film as the lord and publisher who receives the mind of Karloff's wheelchair-bound helper. But the film belongs to Karloff, and he runs with it. This may very well be his best film of the 1930s, with the exception of the Franky films and "The Black Cat," of course, and that's really saying something. Fans of classic horror should all rejoice that this terrific and relatively unknown example of British '30s horror is now widely available in a pristine-looking DVD. To be succinct...loved it.
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10/10
The best mad doctor flick Karloff ever made...
waverboy23 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
For decades, this film was nigh lost...apparently all that survived was a single extremely tattered/spliced/beat-up 16mm print, under the U.S. retitling of THE MAN WHO LIVED AGAIN, which finally made its way into the hands of the good people at Sinister Cinema, who released it on VHS around 15 years ago. Even in such a compromised state, the film was so good that it almost didn't matter. And then, happily, late last year, it came out of nowhere: an obscure label by the name of Shanachie Video released a DVD mastered from a beautiful, nigh-flawless 35mm print (or it could even be the original negative, not sure) under the original British title. Where this print or negative was found, I don't know, but I do know that I'm ecstatic over it!

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!

Boris Karloff is EXCELLENT as Dr. Laurience, a scientist trying to get the scientific community to accept his process of transferring "thought content" from one brain to another, ostensibly to preserve the knowledge and personality gained over a lifetime instead of leaving it to rot with the body after life has expired. After his presentation, his peers of course think he's nuts, and his financial backer, newspaper publisher Lord Haslewood, turns on him as well, taking possession of his notes and all the lab equipment. Coupled with the rejection of his romantic advances by his lovely assistant Clare, this, in the time-honored tradition of horror and sci-fi stories, proceeds to send the doctor over the edge...

Boris Karloff manages to make his character by turns likable, detestable, frightening, and sympathetic, according to the demands of the story; at all times he is believable and utterly compelling. Anna Lee, as Dr. Clare Wyatt, the good doctor's assistant, makes for an intelligent, sophisticated, well-dressed, and above all luscious damsel-in-distress. John Loder, as the publisher's son, Dick Haslewood, is his usual lightweight likable leading-man self, and infinitely preferable to David Manners, who often played these types for Universal Studios. If you like John here, you'll also like him in Hitchcock's classic SABOTAGE, also filmed in 1936. Frank Cellier is perfect as Lord Haslewood, Laurience's initial benefactor, later nemesis and eventual victim. He really gets a chance to shine in the clever dialogue exchanges of the boardroom scenes. The direction by Robert Stevenson (who would go on to helm many Disney classics including MARY POPPINS) is right on the money, as is the art direction and set design. Perhaps most importantly, the script is a sophisticated top-notch balance of thrills and light comedy, co-written by John Balderston and Sidney Gilliat. Balderston, scribe of such stage-derived '30s chillers as FRANKENSTEIN, Dracula, and THE MUMMY, provided the serious stuff, and Gilliat, scribe for Hitchcock (THE LADY VANISHES, JAMAICA INN) and Carol Reed (NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH, THE YOUNG MR. PITT), supplied the wit, with excellent results.

The new DVD is a revelation. If all you've seen before is that shredded 16mm print on VHS, and liked it then, prepare yourself to be blown away by this transfer...and if you've never seen it at all, and are a fan of classic horror and sci-fi, you can't go wrong with this undeservedly obscure gem...one of Boris Karloff's finest hours.

One minor caveat: the DVD appears to be either mastered from a PAL source or a bit time-compressed; the voices are at a slightly higher pitch than they should be, but this shouldn't be too noticeable to the majority of viewers. I just tend to be obsessive about this stuff...
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8/10
For what it is, it is super and very effective
MartinHafer29 November 2006
This was a low-budget horror film with very modest pretensions. No one involved believed they were making "high art" and with a small budget and running at only 62 minutes, this is a definite B-picture. And in light of these factors, it's an amazingly effective and enjoyable film.

Boris Karloff plays a mad scientist--this is certainly no great stretch. His research involves trying to switch the mind of one person with another--sort of like the plot that was often used in cartoons or cheesy comedies in the 60s. How exactly this was going to be a GOOD thing certainly wasn't a primary concern for th doctor, though later in the film, greed and an over-active libido push this strange doctor to make this switch with unwilling victims.

So despite a pretty corny plot, why did I like this film? Well, the pacing was excellent but more importantly the film had wonderful dialog and was at times very 'tongue in cheek'. In particular, when Karloff's evil and physically twisted assistant changes bodies with the rich philanthropic newspaper owner, I found myself laughing repeatedly because the writers for the film deliberately injected some levity into the horror plot. You just have to see it to understand and appreciate this.
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8/10
Very enjoyable with one of Karloff's best performances, such a shame that it is seldom seen
TheLittleSongbird20 April 2013
Boris Karloff is reason enough to see any film of his. The Man Who Changed His Mind is not an exception. At 62 minutes, I did think it was too short, you'd expect a TV episode to be that length but not so much a film, and John Loder is rather stiff as a character that is not particularly interesting. However, The Man Who Changed His Mind is well shot with sets that add to the atmosphere. The music score, while it's never going to be one of my favourites, fits with the mood very well, with some memorable parts and it never overbears the drama. The dialogue is tongue-in-cheek and witty, advantaged also by being delivered with zest by the cast. The idea in variations has been done to death, but you don't care here because the story is suspenseful, fun and always interesting with not a moment when it drags. Other plot points such as the love triangle bring a touching yet never over-saccharine element to it but sensibly kept at minimum. Anna Lee is radiant in looks and proves to be a sympathetic actress also. Frank Cellier and Donald Calthrop are great as well, but Boris Karloff comes off best in one of his best ever performances, when he's on screen you cannot look away from him. To conclude, it is a shame that The Man Who Changed His Mind is seldom seen, it's not perfect but Karloff's performance especially makes for a film that I found myself enjoying a lot. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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10/10
KARLOFF TRANSPOSES BRAIN WAVES!
whpratt129 April 2003
This film was called : "The Man Who Lived Again" and released on Sept. 11, 1936 which was produced in England. It depicts a home on the outskirts of London. Dr. Laurience (Boris Karloff) creates an invention that can transpose the mind of one person to the body of another. His only assistant is Clayton (Donald Calthrop), a paralytic with a fatal brain disease. A very rich man Lord Haslewood (Frank Cellier) finances Dr. Laurience's experiments. Fellow scientists discover that Dr. Laurience's experiments are unbelieveable. Karloff keeps transferring brains from one person to another without success. Finally he shares his secret with his beautiful assistant, Clare(Anne Lee) who appeared with Karloff in "Bedlam" who lives in London at the age of 90 years. Anne Lee last performed in "What Can I Do?" in 1994. Dr. Laurience loses control of himself and takes his invention to the grave. This is a true classic film of Boris Karloff.
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9/10
One "Karloff" movie you shall not forget!
nt-3010 July 2000
Long before some of our favourite classic horror films were ever invented there was The Brainsnatcher (The Man Who Changed His Mind). "The Brainsnatcher" is almost as good as some of the horror movies we have today. Boris Karloff gives off a brilliant performance as a mad scientist and is aided by great performances by Anna Lee, Brian Pawley and Donald Calthrop. Altogether a very good production that should not be forgotten.
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8/10
Made in 1936 and movies still copy its script
siderite16 October 2012
It's difficult to say that a movie from the 30s is filled with clichés, because at the time they weren't so. The mad scientist, the arrogant businessman, the cocky boyfriend and the kind and clever woman, they are all here and doing the same things they do in today's movies. Perhaps at time time they were book stereotypes...

How we can't improve on the story of films after 80 years is a testament of our complacency as humans. Perhaps this is why mad scientists appear, they are only men of science at the beginning, but the world drives them mad. There is such a scene in the movie and one of the few in the genre that try to explain the desperation that takes one to do insane things. In this time, the madness of the scientist is a given and nobody cares why he does it, only that he die in an explosion wild eyed and screaming "Noo!".

All in all, a classic of horror.
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7/10
He's quite mad and it'll never work—or will it?
csteidler27 June 2012
"There's always something queer about a genius," argues brainy and beautiful young doctor Anna Lee; she is leaving the medical establishment—and ditching her handsome boyfriend—to join exiled former colleague Boris Karloff, whose brilliant past work has been recently overshadowed by his pursuit of ideas and research just a little too weird.

Brilliant and eccentric, yes; but is he mad? "I shall show you strange things about the mind of man," Karloff says. In his complex and visually impressive laboratory, he claims to have developed a process to take the "thought content" out of one brain and put it into another—basically, to switch brains. He tries it on two chimps…but would it work on humans?

Lee and Karloff are both very good, especially in the wonderfully intense scenes in which they spar over the limits, the purpose, the morality of science. Each character derives strength, meets powerful resistance from the other; each actor seems to draw energy from the other's presence as well.

The supporting cast includes John Loder as the boyfriend who would prefer that Lee stay in the city and marry him; he follows her out to the sticks and eventually manages to get mixed up in the plot. Not exactly the standard dashing rescuer—in fact, quite the opposite.

A very exciting climax tops off this suspenseful and well-written thriller. A gorgeous and fully furnished mad scientist's laboratory, too!
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Still-Relevant Social Commentary
Doghouse-65 October 2005
This is one of the earliest examples of the "mad scientist" characterization that would become so much a part of Boris' stock in trade over the following decade. What's most interesting about THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND is that it is not as much science fiction as it is an observation of what we might today call the "PR machine," and it takes some lacerating swipes at journalism, publicity and self-promotion.

Karloff is Dr. Laurience, a reclusive scientist who believes he can transfer the consciousness (or soul?) from one brain to another. Ably assisted by Dr. Clare Wyatt, Laurience draws the interest of newspaper publisher Lord Haslewood (whose son, Dick, is Clare's fiancé). Eager to promote his foundation, Haslewood offers to sponsor Laurience's work - without knowing exactly what it is. Before the dust settles, Haslewood feels swindled, Clare feels suspicious and Laurience feels used, vowing to employ his work to his own ends rather than for the benefit of mankind.

Boris' performance is exuberant, and supporting players Anna Lee, John Loder and Donald Calthrop are effective, but Frank Cellier, as Lord Haslewood, walks away with the picture whenever he is on screen. Without giving too much away, let's just say that Cellier is called upon to portray more than one personality, and provides the film with its most enjoyable scenes.

THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND definitely has its moments, along with a little something to say. With its takes on the press and the pitfalls of corporate control, it not only conveys messages to which we can relate today, but illustrates how little some things have changed in 70 years.
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7/10
I wonder which revolts you most - my miserable body or my perverted mind?
utgard1419 January 2014
Boris Karloff plays Dr. Laurience (pronounced Lorenz), a brilliant scientist working on a mind-transference machine. He's assisted by beautiful surgeon Dr. Clare Wyatt (Anna Lee) and a misanthropic cripple named Clayton (Donald Calthrop). Laurience enjoys the financial support of wealthy Lord Haslewood (Frank Cellier). But after the scientific community ridicules Laurience's experiments, Lord Haslewood fires him and threatens to keep his research. The increasingly unstable Laurience can't have that so he uses his machine to switch Haslewood's mind with that of crippled Clayton.

Wonderful British sci-fi horror film that is not well-known today but is one of Karloff's best mad scientist movies. Karloff is terrific, as you might expect, and is given solid support from a good cast. Donald Calthrop is particularly fun as the mean-spirited Clayton. Frank Cellier is also very good, especially after Clayton's mind has taken over Lord Haslewood's body. Smart script and nice atmosphere make this one of the better films of its type from this era.
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7/10
Classic old school Karloff, with a couple great supporting performances
lemon_magic3 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so the opening moments are likely to make a modern audiences grind their teeth a little, as a British journalist spends an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to convince an independent professional woman (in fact, a brilliant surgeon!) to marry him instead of going off to pursue a chance to study with Karloff's character. But it was the 30s and it was Great Britain, so I'll let it slide.

This early "mind switch" movie has a great performance from Karloff (which is no surprise) and also from two of the supporting actors (one playing a wheelchair bound paralytic, the other the lead actress' father and millionaire crusading publisher). This isn't to say that everyone isn't fine in "Man", just that the nature of these three parts means that a) they get all the best lines, and b) they all get to play each other (what with the mind transplants and all).

The director keeps things moving and the scenes stay energetic and snappy, the black and white photography makes the sets look moody and interesting. The screen play distinguishes itself with some interesting twists ,and the plot spirals down into a sort of comedy of errors in the last third of the movie as Karloff decides to get the girl by committing a murder as himself, then switching bodies with his rival and leaving the poor sap to take the blame. (This actually makes perfect sense in the context of the movie).

However, things don't quite work out, and hilarity ensues. Good wins out in the end, because evil can't be bothered to take care of minor details (like ensuring that the victims' bonds are tight) and because that's just how things were done back then.

Lots of fun. Well worth seeking out if you are a fan of Karloff or British horror films in general.
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7/10
he wanted to give us life and we rejected his ideas
lee_eisenberg8 April 2007
"The Man Who Changed His Mind" is hokey, but quite admirable. Boris Karloff plays the title character, who figures out a way to switch people's brains, but gets rejected by the scientific community. So, he engages in an unauthorized experiment with a high-ranking lord in order to further his own interests. It all comes down to a final showdown.

The movie sort of reminded me of Karloff's later movie "The Man They Could Not Hang". That was another one where he came up with a new, controversial experiment but got rejected by the scientific community (needless to say, he got his revenge).

So, it's a nice, silly way to pass time. As always, Karloff's face is practically half of his character. And Anna Lee is really hot! PS: director Robert Stevenson also directed "Mary Poppins".
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10/10
Boris Karloff shines in this mini masterpiece
johnc214121 May 2010
I am a huge Boris Karloff fan so i try to watch every movie he was in and i recently seen this mini masterpiece on the internet archives.and also stars one of my favorite British actresses;Anna Lee who i thought was an awesome and beautiful presence.well Karloff is at his best as a mad scientist conducting illegal experiments first on chimps then of course to people,it has something to do with mind and soul transference,kind of sci fi.its pretty bizarre.Boris Karloff did this little gem for the same British studio that made the ghoul also a Karloff film,this was made in 1936 so he did this while he was still on universals contract,between the black cat and son of Frankenstein.if your a fan of Boris Karloff and sci fi then i totally recommend this movie.Boris Karloff was the king of horror,and was an awesome actor.he should've won an academy award for some of the films he did.I'm giving this gem 10 out of 10.
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7/10
THE MAN WHO CHANGED HIS MIND (Robert Stevenson, 1936) ***
Bunuel19769 September 2006
Star Boris Karloff's second British horror film, following THE GHOUL (1933), proves a more satisfying vehicle and quite an underrated (if minor) classic; apart from director Stevenson (later to helm some of the Walt Disney studio's most popular live-action films), its imposing credentials include producer Michael Balcon (one of the most influential in British cinema) and co-screenwriters John L. Balderston (a genre fixture who had worked on some of Hollywood's finest entries) and Sidney Gilliat (later a Hitchcock collaborator and an important film-maker in his own right, often teamed with Frank Launder)!

Production-wise, it's a modest effort – mostly confined to studio interiors – but one which, in its brief running-time, exhibits both style and substance in a gripping (if familiar) plot line that manages to encompass drama, comedy, romance, chills and suspense! Incidentally, the transference of souls from one body to another was also the theme of THE BROTHERHOOD OF Satan (1971) – which I just happened to watch the previous day – where it's given an occult slant, as opposed to the sci-fi approach of the Karloff film!!

In fact, the star's 'mad scientist' character here (named Laurience but pronounced Lorenz!) was the second in a string of similar roles he played from 1936-1942; I've only watched the first two and the last one but I have two more coming up tomorrow and the day after, while the rest will be released as part of Columbia's Karloff set next month! Anyway, he's excellent as always – driven, menacing or poignant as the situation demands – but he's ably supported by a wonderful British cast: Anna Lee (the director's own wife and with whom Karloff would reteam, memorably, in Hollywood in the Val Lewton-produced BEDLAM [1946]), John Loder, Frank Cellier, Cecil Parker and especially Donald Calthrop; the latter almost manages to steal the show with his crippled and cynical doctor's assistant, whose brain is then put into Cellier's body: the scenes where he tries to act up his new persona provide some delightful – and unexpected – moments of black comedy!

As usual, Karloff's love for the leading lady is unrequited (though she sure admires his genius!) and he concocts an elaborate plan to win her affections which, needless to say, is thwarted in the final reel. In fact, the film's climax (in which Karloff and Loder, having switched brains, attempt an impersonation of one another and then the process has to be reversed in order to save the hero's life, Karloff having thrown himself – in Loder's body – from a window to escape police capture!) is somewhat far-fetched but nonetheless exciting. The DVD transfer is acceptable for such a rare item, with the only negative note being some persistent hiss on the soundtrack.
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9/10
"If the monkeys eat you, don't blame me!"
zardoz-134 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Although this Gaumont-British film presentation is neither as memorable nor sentimental as "The Ape," future "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" director Robert Stevenson's "The Man Who Changed His Mind" with Boris Karloff still qualifies as a taut, entertaining tale about a stereotypical mad scientist who harnesses the power of electricity to swap the minds of two separate individuals. Unfortunately, dim-witted, middle-class morality with its attendant status quo values blemishes the brilliant but nefarious ending where evil virtually triumphs over good. Today's impressionable audiences may bridle at Karloff's protagonist who is shown chain smoking cigarettes. The theme of "The Man Who Changed His Mind" is about man playing God. Karloff's mad scientist begins with the best motives but after society scorns him, he turns evil and wants to alter things to satisfy himself rather than mankind. Predictably, too much knowledge destroys him.

British horror icon Boris Karloff had attained acclaim as the eponymous monster in "Frankenstein" (1931) several years earlier and "The Ape" didn't go into release until 1940. Karloff's performance is sterling, and "The Man Who Changed His Mind" boasts an outstanding supporting cast, including John Loder, Anna Lee, Frank Cellier, and Donald Calthrop. "Frankenstein" scenarist John L. Balderston, "The Lady Vanishes" scribe Sidney Gilliat and "Seven Sinner" writer L. du Garde Peach cram this trim 65-minute melodrama with romance, tension, humor, and horror. While Stevenson confines the action primarily to studio interiors, this sense of claustrophobia creates considerable atmosphere. The laboratory with its crackling bursts of electricity and all those knobs, gears, and sliders is adequate, believable, and never as outlandish as the one in "Frankenstein." Stevenson's energetic direction eliminates any lulls of the action.

The Karloff movie begins in a surgical suite as two doctors complete an operation and clean up. Dr. Gratton (Cecil Parker of "The Saint's Vacation") observes to Dr. Clare Wyatt (Anna Lee of "King Solomon Mines") with an air of finality, "Well, that's the last time we shall operate together." Clare is leaving the hospital to join Viennese brain specialist Dr. Laurience (Boris Karloff) out in the boondocks at his manor house to assist him with his eccentric experiments. Another doctor reminds Clare that Laurience is "a little unorthodox." Gratton describes Laurience's ideas as both "queer" and "impossible." Clare reminds him that geniuses are a bit queer. Meanwhile, Wyatt's indefatigable boyfriend Dick Hastlewood (John Loder of "The Gorilla Man") wants to accompany her. Repeatedly, she has refused to marry Dick. When he tells her she needs somebody to take care of her, Clare points out that she "specializes in looking after herself." Nevertheless, Dick follows the independent minded Clare. She travels by train and then by coach. The coachman drives Clare to the edge of Dr. Laurience's manor house but refuses to escort her to the door. This driver's paranoia about Laurience's home recalls the coachman in "Dracula" (1930) refusing to take Harker to Dracula's castle. Laurience's wheelchair bound companion Clayton (Donald Calthrop of the 1929 movie "Titanic: Disaster in the Atlantic), who always has something snide to say, greets Clare at the door. Clayton describes himself as "one of the doctor's more hopeless cases." He suffers from an intracranial cyst and says about himself "most of me is dead; the rest of me is damned." The use of profanity in an early British film is singular.

Laurience is overjoyed to see Clare. Laurience was once a leading authority on the human brain before his colleagues alienated him because he "told them something about their own brain." Clare wonders why Laurience chose her as his colleague. Laurience applauds Clare because she "has faith in what is new" and "the courage to face things." "I shall show you strange things about the mind of men," he assures her. Laurience works around the clock. No sooner has Clare settled into the creepy manor house than Dick pulls a Romeo. He climbs up to her window and begs her to leave. She sends him packing after he warns her that the servants quit Laurience because he frightened them. Meanwhile, Clayton expresses a low opinion of Clare, and Laurience threatens to withhold an injection that would mean death for Clayton. Clayton really doesn't care whether he lives or dies. Clayton reminds Laurience that he is "the only person who understands" him.

Meantime, Dick pens a newspaper story about Laurience's mysterious scientific experiments. Newspaper baron Lord Haslewood (Frank Cellier of "The 39 Steps") likes the story and wants to finance Laurience's research since scientific success is front page news. Back at the manor, Laurience demonstrates with the use of his elaborate apparatus on two different monkeys that he can extract the thought content of one mind and switch it with another. When Laurience raves that he could switch the thought content—which he designates as 'the soul'--in people, Clare tries to dissuade him. "No, I can't do that," whispers a clearly unhinged Laurience to himself.

Eventually, Lord Haslewood recruits Laurience to conduct experiments at the world renowned Haslewood Institute Laboratory. When Laurience presents his findings to his peers, Professor Holloway (Lyn Harding of the unfinished 1937 version of "I, Claudius") derides Laurience's research as that of a lunatic. Not only does Haslewood oust Laurience from his Institute but he also refuses to let him take his research because it belongs to the Institute. Laurience overpowers Haslewood, straps him into one chair, and switches Haslewood's mind with Clayton's mind. The deception succeeds for a while, until Clayton discovers Haslewood's heart condition. Laurience strangles the uncooperative Clayton-as-Haslewood and incapacitates meddlesome Dick Haslewood. Laurience swaps Dick's mind with his own by means of a remote control process. Since Laurience has already incriminated himself as the killer, he hopes that the authorities with arrest himself, but by then his soul will occupy Dick's head and vice versa. Laurience almost gets away with his scheme in this thrilling little exercise in nail-biting suspense.
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7/10
Boris Karloff: Brain genius and certifiable madman!
Coventry26 June 2011
Luckily we know better than to judge a movie by its title, otherwise perhaps nobody would ever bother to check out "The Man Who Changed His Mind". When I hear a title like that, I imagine the fascinating story of a man sitting in a bar and ordering a cup of coffee. Yet, when the waitress brings the order, he claims to have changed his mind and now wants a cup of tea instead. Obviously, this is NOT what this early collaboration between horror veteran Boris Karloff and the respectable director Robert Stevenson is about. No actually, you may interpret that title very literally, as Karloff depicts an obsessive and utterly bonkers scientist who's able to transfer the brain substance of one individual's body to that of another. The genius but anti-social and obnoxious Dr. Laurience is the subject of mockery and disbelief amongst his colleagues, but with the help and encouragement of his new and lovable assistant Clare Wyatt, he even manages to get his research financed by a wealthy newspaper tycoon. When they announce to stop the financing prematurely, however, Dr. Laurience mentally snaps and uses his opponents as reluctant guinea pigs. "The Man Who Changed His Mind" is a very modest and sadly overlooked 1930's horror gem that actually deserves to have a slightly more respectable status. The film is very straightforward and certainly doesn't waste any time with its running time of barely 62 minutes. The introduction of the characters is brief and to-the-point, the dialogs are never longer than absolutely necessary and even the obligatory triangular relationship aspect between the mad scientist, his assistant and her fiancée is kept to a minimum. The acting performances are admittedly rather stiff, including the one given by the amazing Mr. Karloff, but his crazy eyes and naturally malignant charisma (and in this case also his wildly outrageous haircut) are more than enough to make him a very scary protagonist. Speaking of scary, the film has a couple of noteworthy tense moments, like the actual brain transfers and the race-against-the-clock finale. Definitely one of Karloff's better "evil scientist" movies from the era, this one was shot and produced in England. For some reason, UK horror movies always feature an extra bit of menacing atmosphere and creepy elegance. The young and developing talent of director Robert Stevenson also might have helped, of course. In heavy contrast to this morbid little film, Stevenson would later direct some of Disney's big successes like "Old Yeller", "Mary Poppins" and "Herbie, the Love bug".
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7/10
The Man Who Changed His Mind (1936) ***
JoeKarlosi1 May 2011
A wonderful little horror/science fiction oddity, featuring newly-crowned horror king Boris Karloff in a deliciously over-the-top performance as a mad scientist performing illegal experiments. He made this movie back in Britain after having much Hollywood success. As the eccentric Dr. Laurence, Boris has found a way to transfer the mind and soul of one animal to another. It's only a matter of time before his insanity leads him to using human beings as his newest subjects, and his motivations include both revenge and personal greed. At only just over an hour, this piece moves quickly and is filmed at a lively pace. Karloff's co-star is the beautiful Anna Lee (who would go on to star with him again ten years later in BEDLAM). As a lover of both Boris Karloff and his oft-degraded rival Bela Lugosi, let me point out for anyone who negatively tends to criticize Lugosi's maniacal theatrics in films like Universal's THE RAVEN (1935) -- Boris is no slouch himself in this one as he gives Bela a run for his money in the "ham" department. (Speaking for myself, I love both performances just fine!). *** out of ****
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9/10
Karloff is Brilliant
Rainey-Dawn18 March 2016
The Man Who Changed His Mind (original title) AKA The Man Who Lived Again (1936).

This film is another example of Karloff's brilliance of acting skills. He takes a good character, Dr. Laurience, and makes him beyond great. Dr. Laurience has discovered a way transfer the thoughts of one person into the body of another.

Lord Haslewood has the money while Dr. Laurience has the knowledge. The medical community has laughed at Dr. Laurience and it is Lord Haslewood that is funding the research. Clayton is Dr. Laurience's wheelchair bound assistant and the only person that knows the doctor's experiments actually work outside of one woman,Dr. Clare Wyatt, that begins to believe Dr. Laurience but can she stop him on time?

Murder and lots of body/mind switching at the end of the film- so you will not want to miss who is who and why.

9/10
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8/10
Karloff does well with limited material
JoeB13127 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The machine that transfers brains is a staple of science fiction to the point of being camp or cliché, but this is probably the first time the idea was used on film. Karloff plays a mad scientist who invents the device, demonstrating it on a pair of chimps. A British newspaper mogul bankrolls his research, only to find his mind exchanged for the mad doctor's crippled lab assistant.

Karloff's performance is what makes this movie. He returned to the United Kingdom after his initial success in Hollywood and made a series of low-budget horror films, of this was probably one of the best of the lot. Nowhere near the quality of Universal.
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7/10
The Director Who Changed His Style
boblipton4 January 2019
Boris Karloff has come up with a mechanism for transferring the minds, the souls of two beings. His assistants, Anna Lee, and crippled Donald Calthrop -- it's the Ernest Thesiger role -- are of differing opinions whether he should. When the scientists walk out on his lecture, and newspaper magnate Frank Cellier ends his funding and claims his work, he goes a bit barmy, and proceeds to swap the minds of Calthrop and Cellier.

It sounds like a Universal creepy-crawly directed by James Whale. It has all the hallmarks: the dark lighting, the van der graf generators, a macabre sense of humor seasoning the terror and, of course, Karloff.However, it's a British Gaumont picture produced by Michael Balcon and directed by Robert Stevenson. And it's very good.

The movie itself might be a metaphor for Stevenson's career. As a director, he was as far from an auteur as you could get, directing musical comedies and horror in England, serious dramas and family-friendly gimmick flicks for Disney. By the early 1970s he was arguably the most successful director in the world, his pictures having grossed more than those of any other director. In this movie, when the characters' minds are switched, the actors move and speak like the new character. In the same way, when Stevenson's subject or audience or genre switched, so did his style.

Of course, we admire the directors with styles that don't vary, the auteurs, and denigrate the house directors: the Clarence Browns, the William Wylers, the Maurice Elveys, the Robert Stevensons. It feeds our egos to be able to look at a few minutes of a movie and state with confidence who did it. How clever we are, to recognize their cleverness! In truth, though, as much as I admire the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks and Hitchcock and whatever director you may choose to add to the list, I think it's a much clever director who can look at a story and decide what it needs, not reaching into the same bag of tricks, or telling the same story over and over again, but saying "This is a story I want to tell, and how can I best tell it? And never mind if it doesn't look like everything else I've done." That's much more difficult. And, like this movie, more rewarding.
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7/10
Engaging early British horror/sci-fi.
Prichards1234520 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Boris Karloff, three years after making The Ghoul, returned to England to make this intelligent and interesting horror/sci-fi chiller. The sci-fi is very much to the fore (probably to placate the notoriously sensitve British Film Censor), as Karloff's Dr. Laurience experiments with mind-exchange.

Karloff chain-smokes throughout, which actually leads to a clever plot reveal towards the end. Ridiculed by his peers, he seeks revenge in spectacular fashion. In a way the movie is a precursor to Karloff's mad doctor parts of the late thirties and early forties. Anna Lee also features, and was to later star with Karloff in Val Lewton's Bedlam (1946).

A stylish piece, suprisingly glamorous-looking for a British studio from this era, and well worth a watch.
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9/10
The type of film that has given me a lot to think about, and hopefully others as well.
mark.waltz16 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Live forever! Thanks to the experiments of scientist Boris Karloff, the minds of living creatures can be changed. It worked on chimpanzees, and Karloff longs to make it work on humans. But somewhere along the line, his methods leads to his madness, and he uses it for revenge...and for obsession. Pretty assistant Anna Lee has a great deal of respect for him (at first), until he goes off on a room full of scientists, indicating that he is mad. We get that through the clever use of special effects, and this leads to twists and turns that makes this film extremely powerful.

Karloff's character is pretty much the same as he has been in many films, most obviously "The Man They Could Not Hang" and "Before I Hang". The difference between the three films, as far as this one is concern, is the quality of the script and the ways that it makes you think about eternal youth. The moral questions that came into my head we're certainly very strong, and it is one that will make me highly recommend this to classic film fans who may never heard of it. As for Lee, it was one of two films in which she co-starred with Karloff, the other being the Val Lewton cult classic, "Bedlam". A fantastic supporting cast and some truly magnificent dramatic and suspenseful moments makes me praise this all the more.
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8/10
Little gem
begob28 August 2016
A bright young scientist accepts an invitation from a genius, only to resist his effort at domination of ... life!

A little gem. Just 66 mins, but with a perfectly symmetrical plot, good performances, and moral outcome. Karloff is good, but the Oscar goes to the character who starts as a cripple and ends as an overbearing boss - played by two actors - with some great lines and whiplash irony.

Photography is good, with plenty of close ups. Editing is so fast, like kung fu on speed - maybe it's too much, truncating scenes so that they lose their mood. Honestly, this mystifies me - it made the film seem so much more professional than contemporary Hollywood horrors, and yet the pace lagged a bit. It could have been twenty minutes longer, and still felt shorter.

As usual there's a sweet female influence, but it comes through with a punch at the end. Better than, say, The Imitation Game.

Overall: smart telling of a good story.
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8/10
A trifle flawed but utterly fascinating!
JohnHowardReid4 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
"The Man Who…" takes a long time to get going. Until the climax, in fact, the best thing about the movie are Boris Karloff's studiously mannered, theatrically nervous performance (director Robert Stevenson indulges him with lots and lots of close-ups) and Donald Calthrop's unnerving study of a twisted, wheel-chaired patient. The climactic switch, however, provides Frank Cellier a golden opportunity to show us what he can really do in the acting department. In fact, he seizes it with such charismatic vitality, he even manages to steal scenes from Karloff. And would you believe it? – I know this is really hard to credit – even John Loder comes good momentarily (though Jack Cox's superb cinematography deserves a great deal of the credit).

Aside from Loder, who is actually a bit more animated here than usual, the one dampener on the movie's success is Anna Lee. Usually, she's good, but this time her role is underwritten. And unfortunately, Stevenson has compounded the error by emphasizing both the paucity of her material and her inadequacies as a star personality by exposing her to revealing close-up after close-up?

Like all post-Frankenstein variations on the horror film, a surprising amount of emphasis is placed on laboratory machinery. Personally, all these flashing tubes, palpitating dials and lightning rod conductors, bore the pants off me! But Stevenson gives them all a great run. Personally, I thought the other sets much more effective: the creepy old house, the institute steps and especially the science lecture theater.

Personally, I'm rather surprised that neither Stevenson nor his editor seem the least inclined o pep up the pace a bit. It does tend to drag, particularly in the Lee-Loder scenes. Fortunately, the movie does finally come around to an effectively written and acted climax.
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