THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)









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Brief Movie Synopsis [courtesy of Turner Classic Movies]:

A Korean War hero doesn't realize he's
been programmed to kill by the enemy.
2 Academy Award nominations.






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REVIEWS:





"With the air full of international tension [during the height of the
Cuban Missile Crisis], the film 'The Manchurian Candidate' pops up with a rash supposition that could serve to scare some viewers half to death—that is, if they should be dupes enough to believe it, which we solemnly trust they won't. Its story of a moody young fellow who was captured by the Communists during the Korean campaign and brain-washed by them to do their bidding as a high-level assassin when he gets home to America is as wild a piece of fiction as anything Alfred Hitchcock might present, but it could agitate some grave imaginings in anxious minds these days, especially since it is directed and acted in a taut and vivid way. .... The film is so artfully contrived, the plot so interestingly started, the dialogue so racy and sharp and John Frankenheimer's direction is so exciting in the style of Orson Welles when he was making 'Citizen Kane' and other pictures that the fascination of it is strong. So many fine cinematic touches and action details pop up that one keeps wishing the subject would develop into something more than it does."

-- Excerpt from The New York Times; October 25, 1962




ROGER EBERT'S 1988 REVIEW:



"Here is a movie that was made more than 25 years ago, and it feels as if it were made yesterday. Not a moment of "The Manchurian Candidate" lacks edge and tension and a cynical spin. And what's even more surprising is how the film now plays as a political comedy, as well as a thriller."

-- Roger Ebert; March 11, 1988




ROGER EBERT'S 2003 REVIEW:



"The title of 'The Manchurian Candidate' has entered everyday speech as shorthand for a brainwashed sleeper, a subject who has been hypnotized and instructed to act when his controllers pull the psychological trigger. In the movie...[a] soldier is programmed to become an assassin; two years later, he's ordered to kill a presidential candidate. That such programming is impossible has not prevented it from being absorbed as fact; this movie, released in 1962, has influenced American history by forever coloring speculation about Lee Harvey Oswald. Would the speculation about Oswald's background and motives have been as fevered without the film as a template? The film has become so linked with the Kennedy assassination that a legend has grown up around it. Frank Sinatra, the film's star, purchased the rights and kept it out of release from 1964 until 1988, and the story goes that he was inspired by remorse after Kennedy's death. In fact, the director John Frankenheimer told me, Sinatra had a dispute with United Artists about the profits, and decided it would earn no money for the studio or anyone else. The DVD includes a conversation by Sinatra, Frankenheimer and writer George Axelrod, taped when the movie was finally re-released. Sinatra says it was the high point of his acting career; nobody mentions why it was unseen for 24 years. .... 'The Manchurian Candidate' is inventive and frisky, takes enormous chances with the audience, and plays not like a 'classic' but as a work as alive and smart as when it was first released."

-- Roger Ebert; December 7, 2003











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ORIGINAL THEATRICAL TRAILER:
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MOVIE CLIP #1:
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MOVIE CLIP #2:
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