The Manchurian Candidate [1962] ★★★★

  the-manchurian-candidate-1962-sinatraRegarded as the quintessential political satire of the 1960’s,  “The Manchurian Candidate” is also meant to provoke paranoia and fear as an American patrol is captured and brainwashed by Chinese communists during the Koran war. One soldier, Raymond Shaw (a terrific Laurence Harvey), has been programmed for a top secret mission: to murder a presidential candidate 2 years later. The movie is based on a 1959 novel by Richard Condon and stars Frank Sinatra in one of his very best roles as a soldier trying to uncover the truth behind the mysterious program. The film, released in 1962, was so ahead of its time, that a legend linked it to John F. Kennedy’s assassination a year later. Needless to say, it still rings amazingly true today. Incidentally, I saw Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake starring Denzel Washington, Liev Shreiber and Meryl Streep many years ago and wasn’t impressed. Now that Criterion has finally released the 1962 version, I highly recommend you to check it out. It’s easily one of the finest political thrillers of that era.

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