The Manchurian Candidate details
|Starring:||Angela Lansbury, Laurence Harvey, James Gregory, Janet Leigh, Frank Sinatra, Henry Silva|
|Collections:||100 must-see movies, 100 Top Thrillers, American Film Institute's top 100|
The Manchurian Candidate
|Run time:||2 hours 1 minute|
|Rental release:||22 Sep 2004|
|Dubbed:||French, Spanish, Italian|
|Subtitles:||Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish|
|Hearing impaired subtitles:||English|
Most helpful review
A Memorable and Important ThrillerBy Noel Clay from Bromsgrove, England , 02 Apr 2004
[Highly rated reviewer]This 1962 political and psychological thriller dealing with brainwashing and assassination generally tends to appear on most 'Top 100 Movies of All Time' lists. Frank Sinatra is decent as always, but it's Laurence Harvey as the brainwashed sleeper agent who is the highlight of the movie.
It features some great performances and memorable sequences, and ultimately it's an important film because of the sensitive issues that it deals with. It's always been a controversial film, banned in all of the 'Iron Curtain' countries and even taken out of circulation in America after John Kennedy's assassination -- on Sinatra's own wishes.
This is easily John Frankenheimer's best film. And as if it had somehow cursed him, when in 1968 he drove his friend Robert Kennedy to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, the senator was assassinated there that same day.
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It plays all its Cards rightBy Radiator (3 reviews) from Manchester , 18 Jun 2009
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThere's only one word to sum this up, & that is EERIE! From the simple semiotics of the cards in the opening credits, to the bizarre brainwashing scenes, to Angela Lansbury's terrifying performance (I will never see Murder She Wrote in the same way again!) it has a cold & sinister unfurling of what should be a ludicrous plot. It is a credit to the awesome acting talents that we can sink nose-deep into the paranoia it evokes.
The black&white starkness of the film serves to further heighten its surreal, nightmarish quality: the whole thing seems like some kind of hypnotic brain-washing process in itself!
Not light Saturday afternoon fare, but deservedly a classic of suspenseful, haunting cinema.
Marked Down for Dialogue and ActingBy ChilliOne (53 reviews) from Wallingford, Oxon , 24 Apr 2009Let's start with the positives: plot and Angela Lansbury.
At the time of this film's release in 1962 we have an America that was rabidly anti-communist and jumping at shadows, caught between Korea and Vietnam, and still reeling from the after effects of the McCarthy hearings of the early 50's but also a country with hope on the horizon in the form of JFK who had been elected nearly a year before the film's release. The Manchurian Candidate sought to envelope many of these elements into a complex plot of deliverence, reward, subtefuge and conspiracy. In this it more than succeeds and stripped down to its bare essentials this is quite possibly one of the most exciting stories you can find.
Likewise Angela Lansbury's role as Mrs. Iselin, the wife of would be vice-presidential candidate and mother to Laurence Harvey's Raymond Shaw is the great portrayal of a cold schemer who sees that the end justifies any means of getting there. Lansbury is worthy of the praise heaped upon her for this role and is only let down by the performances around her.
So that dealt with the good and now let's focus on the bad.
Laurence Harvey's performance as Sgt Raymond Shaw is terrible. With an acute English Accent he sounds so out of place in this role that it begger's belief that people didn't laugh out loud when they heard him speak. When he does the lines are delivered with little inflection to portray emotion which while you could understand given the storyline which I won't go into because of the plot, then brings up the question of why this wouldn't be more noticable to those around him. Likewise, Frank Sinatra's portrayal of Bennett Marco is equally poor and convulted with little believability about him. Both male leads bring little acting skills in their roles the only way we could tell either are stressed is when they are bathed in artificial sweat which happens a lot!
Most of the other performances are so over the top that they end us as little more than charactures - the bumbling and puppet-like Sen. Iselin, the evil Korean Doctor and the pointless Eugenie Chaney who is introduced into the film as nothing more than eye candy and has the most awful dialogue.
So there you go, we have a great plot but the finished product is pretty horrendous with trite lines that simply cannot be delivered by a cast of actors who don't have the ability to bring the required sincerity to the table. I find it difficult to believe that this film is so highly rated among critics when I felt so let down by it. Maybe a lot of this could be down to the events of the time such as Cuba and a year later Kennedy's own assassination which must have been like manna from heaven to the conspiracy freaks who lapped this up. However nearly 50 years later this is tired and redundent.
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The Manchurian candidateBy Tallrich (9 reviews) from Essex. UK , 05 Apr 2009
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThis is the original with Lawrence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury.
It is a very intense thriller about brainwashing and manipulation. Lawrence Harvey and Angela Lansbury both give outstanding performances. Issues dealt with in this film were current at the time it was made in 1962 were obviously quite controversial.
Well done making an important film of such lasting quality.
A good film, also an effective propaganda toolBy DianainLondon (41 reviews) from London , 30 Mar 2009
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHideThis film was made in 1962, 10 years after the time when it was supposed to take place. John Frankenheimer's film was perfectly released to instill fear into American minds: be afraid, very afraid of the communists brainwashing you & making you do things without even realising why.
Interestingly enough the other day was my 1st viewing of this film. So, viewing it in today's times, it actually made me think of the U.S. now (& when I was growing up in the States) & how the media does dumb down & brainwash most Americans - you have to search to find the truth about oh so many things, particularly the things the U.S. govt. does (& I'm not talking in a creepy conspiracy theory way, I'm talking normal, everyday stuff. What I learned in Social Studies - the American equivalent of history up 'til high school - was vastly different than the truth. It was almost like a marketing or PR campaign of today - let's stress what we want & gloss over anything questionable). So, it seemed like it also portrayed the American government as the puppet who allowed the other party (purportedly the communists) to brainwash people. I felt this particularly when the ultra conservative & communist fearing politician (who had to have been modelled on Joseph McCarthy) wanted to use the brainwashed main character as a tool to further his own career. In that scenario, it's pretty clear to me who the 'bad' guy is...
Anyway, I really enjoyed the film. I particularly liked the 'nightmare' scenes which flipped between reality & the brainwash version. The ladies' gardening club made the undertone of 'appearances can be deceiving' very strong.
Viewing this film now just reinforces that governments (or populations) like to instill fear & find solace in having an enemy or someone to blame for all of their woes - that way you don't question them or their actions.
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A great thrillerBy a customer from Southsea , 06 Feb 2009This is what films should be made like - the best ones always seem to be the oldies!
It was the boyf who told me about this film. Didn't really know much about it, but was drawn straight in from the beginning. I believe it was some type of communist proganda film and there are strategically placed items throughout the film.
Even if communist propganda isn't your thing you can still enjoy this movie for just it's story. Very well thought, clever writing and screenplay.
Great story would thoroughly recommend it.
I'll never see Angela Lansbury in the same way again!