THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) B/W widescreen 126m dir: John Frankenheimer
w/Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish, John McGiver, Khigh Dhiegh, James Edwards
Brilliantly made drama of a soldier brainwashed by the Communists so that he becomes their pawn in an evil plot to take over the country. The film may be viewed as a horror thriller, satire, or suspense-mystery drama, and it's successful in all respects. With dazzling technique and excellent performances, this is an unusual film directed by TV graduate Frankenheimer.
From The Movie Guide: "A nerve-beating masterpiece, and more timely now than then. Frankenheimer's tightrope walk between campy political satire and suspenser [sic] is flawlessly rendered. Based on Richard Condon's paranoid novel. ...
"THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE takes aim at both the Left and the Right, rendering them both dangerous fraternal twins --- an outrageous, terrifying premise to contend with. The entire cast is first-rate. This is Harvey's best work --- for once the unlovable quality he built a career on emerges sympathetically. But it is Angela Lansbury's incestuous, power-mad mother who makes your blood run cold. This was the peak of the first part of her career, which depended on these hardbitten kind of characters. Forget Hitchcock --- here's the monster mother of all time. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE is political fiction --- we hope --- at its finest, certainly at its most forceful on the screen. It earned distinction as one of the first of a genre that mixed reality, symbolism, and the fantastic, alternating caprice and grim fact so that the view is jarred from one scene to the next as it would be riding on a speeding train constantly being rerouted. Have a wild ride."
Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Lansbury) and Editing.