Change of Mind
Two later productions explore the brain transplantation drama in the social realm. Robert Stevens’s Change of Mind (1969) uses it to deal with race relations in 1960s America. The movie begins with closeups of an open-skull brain operation.
District Attorney David Rowe, a white man, has terminal cancer; Dr. Bornear transplants his brain into the body of Ralph Dickson, a black man run over by a car. It is therefore as a white lawyer in a black man’s body that Rowe will prosecute the white racist sheriff Gene Webb for the murder of a young black woman. The scenario is thoroughly structured by the racial divide. [...]
How does it relate to brainhood? When a journalist asks Dr. Bornear, “What is he now, doctor: a white man with a black body, or a black man with a white brain?” the surgeon does not reply, but the film’s answer seems unambiguous. Several times Rowe asserts the continuity of his personal identity under a different appearance. To his wife, he explains, “the brain is a wonderful thing. It’s really everything: David in me, Margaret in you.”