The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

PG-13   |    |  Drama, Thriller


The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Poster

A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy.


8/10
67,759

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  • Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • Laurence Harvey and Leslie Parrish in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • Laurence Harvey and Leslie Parrish in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


3 July 2003 | Hobbes_512
Excellent Cinema
I went into "The Manchurian Candidate" without knowing too much about the movie itself. I knew about its critical acclaim, but I was unfamiliar with the plot. Regardless, when I rented and watched the film, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed either.

The plot revolves around the strange case of Raymond Shaw, a sergeant who wins the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in the cold war. Two of the men in his company, however, have strange nightmares that suggest Raymond is not as deserving of the award as he seems. One of these men, Major Bennet Marco, led on by these recurring nightmares, unravels a sinister Communist plot. Set against the cold war paranoia of the sixties and McCarthyism, "The Manchurian Candidate" does an excellent job of recreating the intense suspense and tension of the time.

The acting in this film is superb. A great script is heightened by excellent acting in this movie. It's hard not to like Frank Sinatra in his role as Marco, who is the protagonist. Laurence Harvey as Raymond does a good job showing us a character that is wholly unlikable and snobby, yet pathetic and sad at the same time. And of course, Angela Lansbury in her role as Raymond's malicious and plotting mother is excellent.

Some stand-out scenes in the film were the nightmare sequences that brilliantly interlaced dream and reality, the all-queen solitaire game with Marco and Raymond, and the supremely tense climax at the political convention. The cinematography in the movie was very well done as action, romance, and tension all mixed together smoothly. All the scenes managed to keep my attention and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. As a thriller, the film works remarkably well, and it is quite easily the best political thriller I've seen to date.

Keeping me from giving the movie a perfect ten are one or two little nagging problems. I wasn't a big fan of the music for the movie, and it even disrupted the mood for me at one point in the film. It was okay, just not great. Also, the whole plot is sort of unlikely. I wont go into it here, but I don't think that the Communist plan for world domination would fall into the hands of one relatively uncontrolled person, no matter how well trained his mind was. That's just my opinion, however.

The movie is sort of long, and isn't exactly action packed, but it is very interesting, insightful, and even chilling. I had a great time watching it, and I definitely recommend it if you are interested at all in seeing a gripping Cold War era political thriller. Besides, the cultural relevance of the film alone is enough to see it.

9/10

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Sinatra told the press he was more excited to do this film than any other he had ever worked on. He was particularly taken with having to say things in the script "I've never had to speak on screen before...long, wild speeches." George Axelrod said he thought it was terrific "to have that marvellous, beat-up Sinatra face giving forth long, incongruous speeches."


Quotes

Bennett Marco: What's your name?
Eugenie Rose Chaney: Eugenie.
Bennett Marco: Pardon?
Eugenie Rose Chaney: No kidding, I really meant it. Crazy French pronounciation and all.
Bennett Marco: It's pretty.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: Thank you.
Bennett Marco: I guess your friends call you Ginny.
Eugenie Rose Chaney: Not yet they haven't, for which I am deeply gratefull... but you may call me Ginny
Bennett Marco: ...


Goofs

When Marco and Rosie are talking on the train, the camera occasionally switches to close ups and we only see one head. Both are lit so a strong shadow is on one side of the head and a weaker one is on the other. In Marco's case the strong shadow is on the left as we look; which means Rosie's strong shadow should be on the right as we look, for she stands opposite Marco. However, the shadows are the same for both people, as if they stood on the same spot in relation to the lights' positions.


Crazy Credits

The live TV cameras in the senate hearing and press conference carry the NBC logo used at the time the film was made, not the logo used at the time the story takes place.


Alternate Versions

West German version was edited (ca. 4 minutes) to remove every scene with the ladies in the greenhouse. To this day all home video releases contain the cut version. An uncut version (with subtitles for the missing scenes) was shown on Arte.


Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
(1814) (uncredited)
Music based on "The Anacreontic Song" by
John Stafford Smith
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Sung by Marquita Moll at the convention

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | Thriller

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