The Manchurian Candidate Reviews
The story begins in the Korean War as a platoon of US soldiers is captured and taken to Manchuria in Communist China. One of the captives Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is brainwashed by his holders to be an assassin.
Shaw becomes a U.S. hero awarded the highest medal in the U.S. the Medal of Honor as he seemingly saves the lives of the platoon risking his own life in the process.
The liberated prisoners return to the U.S. after the war hiwever Shaw's dangerous brainwashing continues with lethal consequences as he murders several politicians in the process.
The film features Angela Lansbury as Shaw's power hungry mother Eleanor Iselin who enjoys a fraught relationship with her son and is now married to a Republican Senator.
Lansbury is perhaps best known as television sleuth from the 1980s Jessica Fletcher off Murder, She Wrote. A do gooder character with questionable relatives!
Well in this film Lansbury is a villain. A good one at that.
She conspires with the Communists to elevate her husband's political career and her own power.
She uses her son's brainwashing for her own purposes toward the end of the film in an assassination sequence at the Republican Presidential nomination convention at Madison square garden.
The film was released only a year prior to the assassination of John. F. Kennedy. There is a theory that another actor in the film, Frank Sinatra purchased the rights to the film shortly after release and kept the film unavailable until 1988 as guilt for Kennedy's death. Did the plight of character Raymond Shaw inspire Lee Harvey Oswald?
A film I had never considered viewing is not a film in a blockbuster sense. It is more of a satire of the 1960s climate of the United States that I had only paid lip service to.
Definitely worth a viewing.
The Manchurian Candidate manages to be intense, intriguing, smart, full of twists and turns, well acted and beautifully shot, while also being one of the most influential and thought provoking movies.
and did not let go.
Saw this on 26/11/16
Director Frankenheimer's craft is always resonant in this unusually mature political thriller from the old Hollywood. It's biggest virtue is that it is clearly able to stand apart from the other film of it's period because it chooses to tackle serious issues. There are some stupidities such as the unnecessary romance in the film, especially with Janet Leigh who's character is extremely unnecessary in the film. Other than that it is extremely important film that even had the balls to include violence in it.