The Manchurian Candidate [Blu-ray]
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Sinatra is more than ably supported by an all-star cast, including Lawrence Harvey as the title character, former Sergeant Raymond Shaw, scion from a wealthy American family who is now a North Korean sleeper, someone brainwashed into becoming a virtual ticking time bomb, set to go off when the sequence of precipitating code words are uttered to him. His suffocating cow of a mother is played extremely well by Angela Lansbury, whose husband (played by James Gregory) is an easily manipulated but McCarthy-like Senator looking to find a way to engineer his progression to the Oval Office.Read more ›
You can read the other reviews if you want plot details. In a nutshell: Laurence Harvey is Raymond Shaw, a sergeant in the U.S. Army captured and brainwashed in Korea along with the rest of his platoon; Frank Sinatra is Maj. Bennett Marco, who was captured and brainwashed with the others; Angela Lansbury is Shaw's mother (even though in real life she was just three years older than Harvey!), a manipulative witch now married to Sen. John Iselin (James Gregory) and conniving to get him into the White House. The problem: the boys are all back home, Shaw has received the Congressional Medal of Honor, the platoon members don't recall their period of captivity, and Marco is having the _strangest_ dreams . . .
The DVD transfer is clear and crisp, and the extras are okay. But the real star is the film itself, which is just absolutely brilliant and sometimes wickedly funny (e.g., exactly _how_ many Communists have been identified? Close-up of a Heinz catsup bottle . . . and the number is . . . ). The psychological tension here is excruciating; the brainwashing sequences alone will give you the willies.
The cast performs flawlessly, with even Sinatra holding his own; Harvey is eerily disturbing and Lansbury is just plain scary.Read more ›
The cast is uniformly excellent (it is by far Sinatra's best film role--even in light of "Eternity" and "Golden Arm") but Angela Lansbury creates one of the great screen villianesses,(even more amazing considering the fact that she was only two years older than Laurence Harvey when the film was made and convingingly plays his MOTHER!).
George Axelrod ("Seven Year Itch") wrote the wildly hip screenplay and Frankeheimer's depection of the brainwashing sequence remains today one of the great cinematic moments of all times.
The film was not a major box office or critical success in 1962, owing to the fact that this was dangerous material at the height of the Cold War...it dissapeared from sight for 25 years (rumor has it that Sinatra had it pulled after JFK's assassination); finally seeing a re release in the late 1980's.
DVD boasts remarkable sound and video quality..includes a great commentary by Frankenheimer and a 1988 interview with Sinatra, Frankenheimer and George Axelrod.
A great film!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Try "personal goddess" of mine. (The wife and all..)Published 4 days ago by It is a small ringdom, but...
Superior story of a soldier who is unknowingly manipulated by ruthless people who will commit any atrocity to accomplish their political goals. Read morePublished 7 days ago by ClarityOfMind
Timeless. Astonishing in its prescience. Superb acting and stunning cinematography, with strangely insightful music.Published 3 months ago by Diadem
A very fine thriller in all respects, despite the fact that the fundamental implausability of the plot and Angela Lansbury's maniacal plans and histrionics (fun though it is to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I watched this movie as a student and have taught it as a college professor-- it is a classic when it comes to teaching the Cold War.Published 3 months ago by em
Husband likes this version better than the remakePublished 4 months ago by Catherine J Matteson-Davis
Great movie. Well worth the investment. Pick your totalitarian state and consider the implications given todays political environment.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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