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The Manchurian Candidate

4.7 out of 5 stars 321 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

You will never find a more chillingly suspenseful, perversely funny, or viciously satirical political thriller than The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel by Richard Condon (author of Winter Kills). The film, withheld from distribution

Amazon.com

You will never find a more chillingly suspenseful, perversely funny, or viciously satirical political thriller than The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel by Richard Condon (author of Winter Kills). The film, withheld from distribution by star Frank Sinatra for almost a quarter century after President Kennedy's assassination, has lost none of its potency over time. Former infantryman Bennet Marco (Sinatra) is haunted by nightmares about his platoon having been captured and brainwashed in Korea. The indecipherable dreams seem to center on Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), a decorated war hero but a cold fish of a man whose own mother (Angela Lansbury, in one of the all-time great dragon-lady roles) describes him as looking like his head is "always about to come to a point." Mrs. Bates has nothing on Lansbury's character, the manipulative queen behind her second husband, Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), a notoriously McCarthyesque demagogue. --Jim Emerson

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
  • In-depth interviews with Frank Sinatra, George Axelrod and John Frankenheimer

Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Writers: Richard Condon, George Axelrod
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.75:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 1998
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792838289
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,279 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Manchurian Candidate" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a great DVD with many excellent bonus features, including the Director's commentary that adds so much to the understanding of how the film was made. The film was shot primarily with wide angle lenses which heightens the effect of some very frightening screens. For example is there anything more incredible than the scene where the captured, brainwashed prisoners believe they are attending a ladies' garden party, while actually on stage as human guinea pigs in a meeting of communist cadres. Just an amazing juxtaposition of images! The storyline is well developed and never loses the taut feeling of suspense from start to finish. Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, and Angela Lansbury are particularly fine in their roles. If there is only one criticism, it is that Harvey lapses at times into his original British accent, which is disconcerting. But given the power of his performance in this role, this is a minor detail that can easily be overlooked. The film is shot in black and white, which is far better suited to its cold war images. Just puzzled why MGM issued the cover for this DVD in color? Anyway, highly recommend this DVD!
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Format: DVD
So powerful a cinematic portrait of a potential political assassination is this superb film improbably featuring Frank Sinatra in his finest movie role that it was banned from further release following JFK's murder in Dallas after its original early 1960s big-screen release for several decades. Directed by the near-legendary John Frankenheimer, this riveting screenplay based on the novel written by Richard Condon (Winter Kills) focuses on the way in which propaganda and the manufacture of political views can influence one's perception and behavior in the most provocative of ways. Sinatra's portrait of an officer, Bennet Marco, a man obsessed by his experience as a prisoner of war during the Korean conflict, is truly a maginificent interpretation of a man teetering on the edge of madness, driven by both his nightmares and his conscience to attempt to unravel the mystery by working through the very effective brainwashing accomplished by the North Koreans over a platoon of men Sinatra's character commanded.
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.
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Comment 53 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
It's about time this Cold War classic (based on the novel by Richard Condon) was re-released on DVD with a few extras. I haven't seen the remake yet (and if I do, it'll be purely because Denzel is in it), but it has its work cut out for it if it aims to be as good as the original.

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.
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Format: DVD
John Frankenheimer's amazing screen version of Richard Condon's 1959 book "The Manchurian Candidate" works brilliantly on two levels at the same time: as a wildly bizarre political thriller and as a satire of the American political spectrum--taking potshots at both the left and the right (it's no accident that when the liberal senator is assassinated we see milk spouting out instead of blood).
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!
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