HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
   
 
  Manchurian Candidate, The Remote Control
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, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
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 12117 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 probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: