This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
The Manchurian Candidate
When you've seen it all, you'll swear there's never been anything like it!
The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller from American director John Frankenheimer. An American soldier is brainwashed into being a killer for the communist Russians during the Korean War.
Whilst Alan Pakula would go on to create some of the most potent paranoid thrillers a decade later, the seeds of those post-Kennedy conspiracy theories were perfectly realised in John Frankenheimer's Cold War classic in 1962. Surprisingly this was released on the 24th October 1962 - right in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a time when fear of nuclear warfare was at an all time high.
Frankenheimer tries his damnedest to disturb the viewer from the very beginning of the film with American soldiers sold out by their Chinese guide, handed over to the Russians and South Koreans. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the film failed at the box-office upon release, with the director…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Bit of a nosedive (this was previously my favorite film of '62), because I can no longer persuade myself that the whole is greater than—or even equal to—the sum of its parts. Marco and Rosie's meet-weird on the train ("Are you Arabic? Let me put it another way: Are you married?"), for example, introduces a fascinating character in whom the movie ultimately has almost zero interest; Janet Leigh all but vanishes thereafter, turning up now and again as a completely generic girlfriend who just looks concerned about stuff. Likewise, the hallucinogenic garden-club nightmare/flashback, while a masterpiece of sustained black comedy, isn't integrated into Raymond's assignment, nor does it even seem necessary for its own sake (since the brainwashed men…
It's a terrible thing to hate your mother. But I didn't always hate her. When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her.
John Frankenheimer's adaptation of Richard Condon's 1959 novel of the same name is quite possibly his greatest film and also Frank Sinatra's best outing as an actor. The film is so well made that 50 years later, even though it is drenched in Cold War Red Menace paranoia, it still feels like a contemporary story today. Honestly the theme of manipulating the public's perception of a perceived threat, real or not, is as poignant today as it was in 1962 if not more so.
As mentioned it's probably Sinatra's best performance as an…
The genius of this film remains how unbelievably prescient and unyielding it was towards electioneering in 1962. The Red Scare and Bay of Pigs invasion were magma hot issues at the time, and the assassination of JFK would occur within a year of the film's release. Talk about a hot-button movie. The conspiracy thriller that all subsequent conspiracy thrillers would be judged against. Has there been a film about brainwashing that even attempts to match the scope of Frankenheimer's film? The story is handled so delicately, heavy on taut mood, using next to no music and taking full advantage of black and white photography. The unraveling of a grand scheme plays so casually realistic that it is not so farfetched…
Although John Frankenheimer's political thriller felt a lot more relevant when it was released (1962, when the Cold War was at its hottest) than it does now, the truth is that it hasn't lost its ability to provoke. Let's be honest, the famous conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union that almost destroyed the world is not exactly a current theme (and I'm definitely not an expert in American history, which certainly affected my enjoyment and perception of the film), but the ideas behind The Manchurian Candidate are so intelligent, ingenious and appropriate that it remains a benchmark for American political thrillers.
To prove/confirm the relevance of The Manchurian Candidate, a satire about brainwashing and killing an American President,…
This suspenseful ride, set during the Korean War, does not seem dated at all. It follows a brainwashed war veteran who is being used in a communist scheme against his will.
This film contains one intense scene after another. One in particular, near the beginning, really stands out in my memory. It is when a group of soldiers is being brainwashed, while thinking they are at a garden party. After this, many of them begin to have nightmares revealing the truth about the events that really unfolded. Expert editing and filmmaking, in this scene as well as in the rest of the film, smoothly let the story unfold in a bold and unsettling manner.
In addition to its technical merit…
Brilliant dark satirical political thriller that is as potent today as it was back in '62.
Haven't seen in....I want to say about six or seven years, and it holds up beautifully since I was in my mid-teens. Frankenheimer was in a class of his own among the studio guys, a master of black and white as a world and a key master in understanding images inside images: Double exposures and television cameras abound in this. This movie is seductive despite its bleakness, which makes its achievement all the more excellent. I like Harvey a lot more this time: he's perfect for this kind of inhuman stiffness, and Lansbury remains one of the biggest snubs in awards history. I shouldn't underestimate Sinatra though: he carries things beautifully.
Also I should really write my theory on how Janet Leigh is the one who is manipulating everything in this movie some day, but that's a story for another time.
The Manchurian Candidate is an awesome political thriller from the 60s by John Frankenheimer. Frank Sinatra stars, though it is Angela Lansbury who plays the mother of a brainwashed "rescued" POW Laurence Harvey (or should I say Jude Law! I know it's you, Jude, you ageless wonder!) who steals the show as a GREAT cinema villain.
The b&w cinematography is great, especially the use of tv sets IN frame as a take on the media's influence not only on the world, but on cinema.
It's a good time. See it.
If you're at all into podcasts, then You Must Remember This is already a familiar name. Host Karina Longworth recently did an episode on Frank Sinatra's involvement with the Blacklist. It was a fascinating story, if just because one comes away believing that the singer wanted to be so much more. He wanted his politics to make a difference and spread a message. All he ended up with is a couple catchy numbers and a whole lot of performances as men in combat. I've seen a handful of them; including On the Town, From Here to Eternity, and Some Came Running. While he could do message movies, his roles often lacked the gravitas he sought.
While it isn't important to…
In this gripping cold war thriller, John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate deftly captures the rising paranoia of the day in which it was produced. From the surreal dream sequences to the peek into the fiendish plot of the conspirators, the sense of dread builds as the viewer is taken on a ride that moves inexorably toward it's conclusion.
Along with a well executed story we are treated to excellent performances from Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury in a role which is a big departure for her and Frank Sinatra as the tortured soldier trying desperately to uncover the truth as to the strange experiences plaguing himself and the men of his former unit.
An excellent political thriller indeed.
June 2016 Movie Watching Challenge
June 19- A PG-13-Rated Film
I don’t really have all that much to say, other than it didn’t do AS much for me than with others. Definitely a pretty good movie with stellar performances, cinematography, and concept. I guess the movie suffers from pacing and clarity. The film was very slow and quite boring on occasion, as well as the plot wasn’t clear until past halfway through the movie. I’m going to assume this film will greatly improve upon a rewatch. It is a damn good movie with a lot of potential after all. But I’ll settle with 3.5 for now.
Great story. Some of it is dated but Angela Lansbury is great. The brainwashing demonstration is a standout scene.
This movie strikes me as stupid right-wing Cold War propaganda that accidentally managed to be smart by way of stupidly contradicting itself. I wasn't crazy about it for the majority of its runtime, but it all kind of came together toward the end. The climactic scene at the electoral speech was genuinely great.
Interesting plot and mood but feels very overwrought
A list that, if nothing else, proves the day-to-day usefulness of applied statistics.
Between 2015 and 2016, a series of…
Movies that are slightly off.