THE MIND OF MR. SOAMES (1970)
Article 2588 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-6-2008
Posting Date: 9-13-2008
Directed by Alan Cooke
Featuring Terence Stamp, Robert Vaughn, Nigel Davenport
A man who has been in a coma since birth is revived after a successful operation on his brain. However, the revived man has the mind of a baby. Two doctors try to raise him, but they differ sharply in their beliefs and methods. The revived man eventually escapes from the institute where he’s being held, but he isn’t ready to deal with the real world…
This movie is an excellent combination of science fiction drama, character study and tense thriller. It’s anchored by an excellent performance by Terence Stamp in the title role, and also features top-notch performances from Robert Vaughn (this is the finest performance I’ve seen him give) and Nigel Davenport. Though the characters are specific “types”, they never become stereotypes; Nigel Davenport’s somewhat cold and overly disciplined Dr. Maitland could have easily been a cliche, but he remains a very real person. The movie underplays and uses subtlety, and we grow very attached to all of the characters. This is especially powerful when Mr. Soames gets loose in the real world; we feel both how he feels as well as the feelings of those he meets, and this gives rise to a lot of tension. The scene in which Mr. Soames ends up sharing a train car with a very scared young woman who doesn’t understand the man she’s dealing with is one of the tensest scenes I’ve encountered in a long while. Many people feel unhappy with the ending which neither offers easy answers nor resolves all the issues, but I found the final actions of the doctors’ assistant in the ambulance to give me the satisfaction I desire. Personally, I like it a lot better and and find it more honest than the somewhat similar CHARLY.