Directed by: JOHN FRANKENHEIMER
1962, TSPDT Rank #364
The Manchurian Candidate is a gripping, surreal, and fascinating political thriller - one that must have also been quite provocative for its time. In the heat of cold war tensions, it really took guts to produce an unusual and button-pushing script like this, and with big name stars like Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh. It just goes to show that a movie with some courage really has the potential to stand the test of time. I don't know what exactly I can say about the plot without ruining it - but basically it's about a platoon of soldiers who are kidnapped and brainwashed, one of them being unwittingly conditioned to be an assassin for the Communists. It could also be viewed as a satirical film, as the character of John Iselin has come to be mirrored in modern political figures like George W. Bush - and was certainly an attack on the hypocritical and anti-Communist politicians in our country at the time period. This is a thriller which truly puts you into its world, involving you with key catch-phrases and frankly depicted actions which provided a little taste of reality along with entertainment. It's also a very well made film, which has helped keep its freshness throughout the years. Definitely still relevant and worth watching.