The Manchurian Candidate [1962] (3/24/12)

Manchurian CandidateMovie Sixty Three

I have yet to see the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, which I have heard good things about. If it’s even half as good as the original Manchurian Candidate it is probably an amazing film.

The Manchurian Candidate is a film that depends on cold war hysterics over communism. Sen. Joseph McCarthy likely played a large role in creating the story, likely unknowingly. The plot surrounds a group of POW soldiers returning from Korea. One is awarded the esteemed medal of honor (Laurence Harvey) and several others (one of which is Frank Sinatra) have the same recurring nightmare. The nightmare is about them being brainwashed by communists. We soon learn that the dream was reality and the soldier played by Harvey has been brainwashed to become an assassin.

Other than the communist angle, it’s amazing how little politics have truly changed in 50 years but I would hesitate to call this a political film. Without knowing anything about the Manchurian Candidate, I had always assumed it was a political film and was turned off by that. It wasn’t until I was reading a collection of noir short stories that The Manchurian Candidate came up and my interest piqued. A noir? Count me in.

I am interested in seeing the remake starring Denzel Washington in place of Frank Sinatra. I am curious how much of the communist witch-hunt is there or if that aspect has been more modernized. Still, The Manchurian Candidate has aged well and is highly recommended.

I give it 4 queen of diamonds out of 5.

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