The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate

John Frankenheimer (1962)

121min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Director John Frankenheimer's masterpiece of Cold War paranoia was withdrawn from circulation in the wake of the death of JFK, its assassination plot a chilling mirror to contemporary events. More than 50 years on, it has lost none of its ability to thrill and provoke. Laurence Harvey has returned from the Korean War a hero, recipient of the Medal of Honor and saviour of his platoon. Why, then, is his former commanding officer (Frank Sinatra) plagued by nightmares in which the repressed Harvey coolly kills one of his comrades under the orders of a Chinese general? Exploiting contemporary fears about Communist brainwashing while cleverly exposing the hysterical anti-Communist lobby (the McCarthyist Senator Iselin makes for a superb stooge), this is a dazzling critique of its times that functions first and foremost as a superbly constructed and almost unbearably tense thriller. Harvey is perfectly cast, while Sinatra has one of his very best roles as the tormented officer. But stealing the show is Angela Lansbury as Harvey's mother (though she was just 37 to Harvey's 34) - monstrous, manipulative and completely power-crazed, she is an unforgettable creation.

Summary

A distinguished Korean War veteran is brainwashed into becoming a remote-controlled killing machine. When he returns to America a hero, an old friend begins to suspect something is terribly wrong. Political thriller, starring Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury.

Cast & Crew

Bennett Marco Frank Sinatra
Raymond Shaw Laurence Harvey
Rosie Janet Leigh
Raymond's mother Angela Lansbury
Chunjim Henry Silva
Senator John Iselin James Gregory
Jocie Jordon Leslie Parrish
Senator Thomas Jordon John McGiver
Director John Frankenheimer
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Park CircusGuidance: Contains violence.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 16 Apr 2010
Drama