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The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate
Actors: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva
Director: John Frankenheimer
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
PG-13     1998     2hr 6min

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, withhel...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva
Director: John Frankenheimer
Creators: Lionel Lindon, John Frankenheimer, George Axelrod, Howard W. Koch, Richard Condon
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Classics, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen,Letterboxed - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/25/1998
Original Release Date: 10/24/1962
Theatrical Release Date: 10/24/1962
Release Year: 1998
Run Time: 2hr 6min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Member Movie Reviews

Larry N. from BEALETON, VA
Reviewed on 12/8/2014...
I don't think it lived up to all of the hype I've been hearing about this movie lately. It's a very complex movie with a nice plot twist. I have the re-make but have not seen that one yet.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kevan H. (kevo) from FRISCO, TX
Reviewed on 4/17/2008...
Great old school thriller.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

'Why don't you pass the time with a little solitaire?'
John S. Ryan | Silver Lake, OH | 08/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. John Frankenheimer's direction deserves all the kudos it received, George Axelrod's screenplay is mostly excellent (the exception being that Janet Leigh's character Rosie is strangely underdeveloped and seems 'tacked on'), and David Amram's score is really cool (I especially like the opening theme).

And as the existence of a remake indicates, the movie is still unfortunately timely (at least in its broad outlines) even though the Cold War is over. As anyone familiar with e.g. the history of LSD is aware, communist regimes weren't the only governments in the world to experiment with mind control.

However good or bad the remake turns out to be, we can at least be glad it provided a commercial incentive to release a new edition of the 1962 original. Grab it while it's available."
Highly original, chilling political thriller
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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!"
All Star Psychological Political Thriller!
Barron Laycock | Temple, New Hampshire United States | 07/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. Through chance conversation with other former fellow POWs, Marco becomes suspicious of his memories, which seem contrived and somehow false, but he has great difficulty (and hallucinatory nightmares) as he agonizes ever closer to uncovering the horrific truth. The plot runs interestingly and unpredictably toward its surprise conclusion, and it is so well choreographed and photographed with Frankenheimer's usual brilliant flair for the visually stunning and surprising, that one is whirled along toward the conclusion with scarcely a moment to reflect on all the twists and turns Marco discovers along the way. This is a terrific thriller, one that has suspense, realistic characters, and the kind of riddle within an enigma plot that should both entertain and edify you all at the same time. Enjoy!"