Among the most lauded political thrillers of all time, The Manchurian Candidate was amazingly prescient in light of the recent attraction of conspiracy theories.
Korean War hero Laurence Harvey is a brainwashed human time bomb engineered to further a hidden Communist takeover, with Sinatra the one man who stands in his way.
A mix of black-comic political satire (James Gregory, in his finest performance as a Joe McCarthy-like demagogue) and an energetic, violent, and disturbing exercise in suspense, the film has resonance like few others of its time. Perhaps the finest work by director John David Amram. Not to be missed. Based on Richard Condon’s harrowing novel.
The Manchurian Candidate was largely unavailable for 25 years due to a dispute between United Artists and Frank Sinatra, who held a controlling interest in the film. While it was not shown theatrically, it did play occasionally on TV.
Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress: Angela Lansbury.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Film Editing; Best Supporting Actress for Angela Lansbury.
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, James Gregory, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, John McGiver
Director: John Frankenheimer
Producer: George Axelrod
Director of Photography: Lionel Lindon
Editor: Ferris Webster
Composer: David Amram
Screenwriter: George Axelrod
Production Designer: Richard Sylbert
Special Effects: Paul Pollard
USA / United Artists / 126 minutes / 1962