All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
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…
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…
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 review reportedly contains 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…
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…
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…
This is a colossal classic I'm ecstatic to finally tick off. I saw Frankenheimer's Seconds last year and was really struck by his knack for visualising skewed paranoia. That talent is on full display in The Manchurian Candidate. One thing that struck me is how deeply unnerving it is. The ideas beneath it all - brainwashing, manipulation, murder - are really disturbing. We see these themes all the time in movies but they have a stone-cold sharpness here that is very shocking.
The cast is full of amazing faces and it's a really eclectic ensemble when you think about it. I think this is the first film I've seen Sinatra act in and he wasn't the screen presence I was…
The narratives of war have changed. Enemies don’t all wear a red star enamel pin and are not easily caricatured on propaganda posters. What endures, though, is a paranoia of infection and manipulation. The headline-grabbing threat of ‘radicalisation’ in British schools and prisons may not be as far fetched as the McCarthy fuelled threat of commie brainwashing – but the media treatment of Islam bears many of these fear-mongering hallmarks. Seen today, John Frankenheimer’s cold war thriller The Manchurian Candidate is a film of such pace and, importantly, biting satire that it could’ve been made yesterday. Threats are different, but political and media manipulation are always prevalent.
It centres around brainwashed sleeper agent Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) who returns from…
Damn communists. Not my kind of paranoid thriller. It made me think of Alan Pakula directing a James Bond movie. Mind control, hypnosis, brainwashing and then those nightmares, it's all a bit silly, but it doesn't have the drive to get away with it. In fact, aside a few funny moments (the talk in the train for instance) and senator Iselin it's rather serious, slow paced and, well, dull. Lansbury is on fire as mommy from hell and the scenes with guns involved are absolutely noteworthy, but as a whole The Manchurian Candidate comes up too short.
I found it lovable even though it was not lovable.
I saw this in a theater back in college, and somehow it didn't work for me then. Hadn't seen enough old movies, I think. I still think it has some issues - there's a LOT of exposition to pack in over the first half, and not all of it quite flows; and that karate fight is...quite something - but once you get to Sinatra convincing the Army brass that his story has merit, things pick up considerably, and everything starts to fall into place. Just works on every level from there - Raymond's tragedy feels genuinely tragic, unlike so many brainwashing movies that just feel stale; Sinatra's investment is immediate and clear; and the thriller stuff is just a gas.
Also, love the way Sinatra relates to the other government personnel; they all treat their positions with a certain amount of reverence, but mostly, it's just a job, with its fair share of frustrations and small victories.
Imagine having mother lik that
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Hollywood sure lost something when the Cold War ended. It provided such fertile ground for stories of paranoia, intrigue and espionage. Sure, they can still tell these stories with period pieces taking varied nostalgic of hindsight aided views of the period. But I have to assume that these stories hit harder and played better when the audience was (or at least, thought they were) under the threat of the Red Menace in real life. Watching a movie like The Manchurian Candidate is good in 2015, but I have to imagine it was amazingly effective in 1962.
Thumbs Up: Cool premise, some superb and innovative visual ideas (especially the Lady's Tea Party/Communist High Command crosscutting and the courtroom scene with the TV monitors), solid performances from Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury, plus love the poster tagline - from an era when arriving late to a movie was the most heinous crime imaginable.
Thumbs Down: Everything feels a little sloppy; the shaky B-movie cinematography, the overwrought score, the mostly awkward performances, and its really not much of a thriller when the whole conspiracy is explained from the very start.
Slightly overrated since Frankenheimer made many better films than this; it does look forward to the paranoia of 1970s political thrillers, Laurence Harvey is terrible and Demme's remake isn't half bad
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