HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Manchurian Candidate, The Remote ControlBuy this film here.
Year: 1962
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish, John McGiver, Khigh Dhiegh, Henry Silva, Barry Kelley, Douglas Henderson, Lloyd Corrigan, Reggie Nalder, Whit Bissell
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Weirdo
Rating:  9 (from 2 votes)
Review: During the Korean War, a patrol of Major Marco (Frank Sinatra) was ambushed and taken hostage for three days. Now they are back home in America, they begin to suffer terrifying nightmares and near-nervous breakdowns. One of their number, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), is the stepson of prospective Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Iselin (James Gregory), but it's Raymond's scheming mother (Angela Lansbury) who is pulling the strings. So what really went on in those missing days? Could it be something that will lead to murder - and worse?

Based on Richard Condon's novel, this bizarre conspiracy thriller was adapted for the screen by George Axelrod (a future director himself). It's central plotline of political assassination would prove sadly prescient as the sixties wore on, and showing various characters wearing Abraham Lincoln beards is just one example of the dark humour running through the film, as is the point about the Soviet-run alcoholics treatment centre running at a profit.

There is a curiously unreal atmosphere to The Manchurian Candidate, whether it's down to the obvious sets or the frequent lapses into surreal scenes or outright absurdity. When a panicky Sinatra meets Janet Leigh on a train, their conversation is stilted and artificial; Leigh's Rosie could just have been a generic girlfriend role, a shoulder to cry on, but here her manner and motives are difficult to pin down. And the fight scene between Sinatra and Henry Silva is a theatrical mixture of kung fu, eye-gouging and furniture destruction.

The patrol members all say that Raymond is the "kindest, bravest, warmest, most wondeful human being I've ever known" when he's quite patently nothing of the sort. Harvey was never better than in this role, making Raymond, who despite his privileges is one of life's losers, an unlikeable guy you nevertheless feel sorry for. As a human weapon, triggered by the Queen of Diamonds, he fights to be free of the influence of his manipulators and his villainous mother, but you know instinctively he's doomed from the start.

Lansbury almost steals the whole film as the ruthlessly ambitious Mrs Iselin, embodying the strongly satirical theme of the political far right being virtually the same as the political far left. Both sides want complete control, and will go to any lengths to secure it, as shown by the devastating effect they have on their victims. As intelligent and gripping as it is weird and melancholy, The Manchurian Candidate is a bona fide cult classic. Watch for: the brainwashing sequences where little old ladies alternate with military leaders; and the great scene where Sinatra has to stop and salute the national anthem instead of tracking down the assassin. Music by David Amram.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 11339 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: