The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

This film is often listed as a “must-watch” classic. For many years I have been intrigued by it but only now have I take the time to watch. I can tell you it has great cinematic moments and indeed every film lover should see it. At the same time, it has some slow segments that a modern audience may find dull. The final 1/3 is very exciting though and certainly wort the wait.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
PG-13 | 2h 6min | Drama, Thriller | 24 October 1962 (USA)
The Manchurian Candidate Poster
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.
Director: John Frankenheimer
Writers: Richard Condon (based upon a novel by), George Axelrod (screenplay)
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh

Our director is John Frankenheimer. He is known for many classic and modern films before his passing in 2002. I recognized “Ronin” on is list which is one of my favorite action films. It took a skilled and visionary director to make “The Manchurian Candidate.” There are two stories running side by side and yet the overall plot must be told with subtlety and care.

Since the story is about a brainwashed puppet being used by forces hostile to the USA, the subject matter is close to home for an American. Still, it’s easy to see how this sort of thing could be happening behind our back without us knowing it. The acting is incredible along with the writing making this a definite must see for movie fans and/or fans of the actors.  The fight scenes unfortunate make me laugh. This is ironic since Frank Sinatra considered it some of his best acting ever.  It is in fact dated in its pace and some of the effects look fake. It was avoided by many audiences for some time after its release due to the political public response to the film. 7/10.

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