The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Movie Title: The Manchurian Candidate

Year Released: 1962

Rated: Approved

Runtime: 2h 6min

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Director: John Frankenheimer

Writer: George Axelrod; based upon a novel by Richard Condon

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish, John McGiver, Khigh Dhiegh, James Edwards, Douglas Henderson, Albert Paulsen, Barry Kelley

Review: A former prisoner of war (Laurence Harvey) has been brainwashed to become an involuntary assassin for an international Communist conspiracy, and it's up to Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) to stop his former CO from murdering a presidential candidate.

The Manchurian Candidate is truly one of the most intense, creepy, and shocking political thrillers ever made! Director John Frankenheimer has crafted a perfect thriller that is dead-serious, without any humor or cynicism. Communist fears and political aspirations are at an all-time high during the early '60s. Fear, control, and paranoia are the real stars of this one along with the pitch-perfect performances from Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Henry Silva, James Gregory, and magnificent Angela Lansbury. Lansbury is so good here that she earned a Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She should have won, in my opinion.

The opening scene sets the tone for this thriller and it never lets up. For the over two hour run-time I was so tense and creeped out by Laurence Harvey's portrayal of poor Raymond Shaw, the titular "The Manchurian Candidate". He's Oscar worthy here, too!

I don't want to say too much about the The Manchurian Candidate for fear of ruining any of its twists and turns. I just say this...if you like thrillers, political intrigue, or conspiracies - see this movie! It shows us the truth behind politics and the power that it has over lives, nations, and morals.

Stars (out of 4):

Fun Fact: Angela Lansbury was thirty-six at the time of filming, only three years older than Laurence Harvey, who played her son.


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