Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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…
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 review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
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…
''Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire? ''
Having caught snippet's of the Denzel Washington star vehicle from with the same name from 2004, I put off my viewing of the original so I could come into it without baggage, and after settling in for a good dose of Cold War suspense courtesy of John Frankenheimer, I immediately knew I was in better hands.
This thing powers along at such a velocity, that it is so easy to lose your bearings, and that's exactly what happened to me. But not one to let a film get the better of me, I managed to find my footing by act two, stormed home with act three, and the…
Noir November (Film #7)
"They? They? Who's this mysterious they?"
John Frankenheimer's 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate was adapted from a novel by Richard Condon. Playing on the fears of the American public using the Cold War and Communism, The Manchurian Candidate is packed full of powerful messages on the American way of life, and how fear itself is what we should be most afraid of. In my opinion, the overall concept that Condon developed in his novel is easily one of the most exciting and intriguing ever to be made into a film. The storyline follows a group of American soldiers who have miraculously returned from fighting in Korea. Now that they're home, they all seem to be having…
This film is political intrigue at its best!! Everybody in this film is at the top of their game from Frank Sinatra,Laurence Harvey,Janet Leigh,Henry Silva,and Angela Lansbury playing the most evil role in her career almost steals the movie. John Frankenheimer was the right choice to direct this film and he is at the top of his game here. A brave film to do at a time of such turmoil politically. I hope that newer audiences would avoid Jonathan Demme's tepid remake and see the story that should be told right. A true work of cinematic art.
1962's The Manchurian Candidate Is One Of My Favorite Films, I Like It Because it Turned 50 Years Old In 2012.
Those dirty Commies!
This great film would be greater if the gimmick behind it were true, tainting what is otherwise one of the best political movies ever made. It's Angela Lansberry's insane power-monger that makes the movie work, and Janet Leigh makes no sense whatever. Her dialog with Sinatra comes from another planet. What's going on there? Script by George Axelrod (Seven Year Itch, Breakfast at Tiffany's).
The Manchurian Candidate is one of my favorite films from the '60s. Mesmerizing from the start and with a mind-twisting storyline that's impossible not to let oneself being drawn into, this is both a psychological and a political thriller, but also a thoroughly arresting drama. Frank Sinatra's lead performance was outstanding, while Lawrence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and especially Angela Lansbury were also brilliant. The ending was greatly shocking and unforgettable.
So I guess Frank Sinatra just decided he was just gonna be a good actor too.
Frankenheimer directed the hell out of this movie, and it's cool as fuck.
Considered the first (and by this reviewer, the best) political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate saw limited release in 1962. Pulled from circulation after its close narrative ties to the Kennedy assassination, it was re-released by its print holder, Frank Sinatra, to great critical acclaim. The Manchurian Candidate features a final thirty minutes that ranks among the best ever produced, and marks the career plateaus for both its director (John Frankenheimer) and its stars (Laurence Harvey and Frank Sinatra).
Harvey plays Sergeant Raymond Shaw, whose company of men recommends him for the illustrious Medal of Honor. While all the men will say that Shaw is a hero and he is among the Army's most brave, something still feels wrong when the…
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