Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Manchurian Candidate ('62) Comes to Criterion

By Steve Evans

Director John Frankenheimer (1930-2002) specialized in political thrillers and made some bonafide classics, none better than The Manchurian Candidate (1962), released in a beautiful edition today by The Criterion Collection. It's a brilliant coup to reintroduce this film in a major election year to another generation. This is slick, savage, satirical entertainment that will also make you sweat with suspense. Career-best work from Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury, as I guarantee you've never seen her before.
Following JFK's assassination, the film was yanked from distribution by Sinatra himself, who in those days had the power to throw a motion picture in the closet. When it was finally released again, in 1988, there was such a mystique surrounding the picture that I feared my expectations could not possibly be met. Instead, they were surpassed. How often can you say that about a movie?

Truly, this is the best political thriller ever made and by a considerable distance. If ever you get opportunity to see it, I implore you to do so. No filmgoing life should be lived without seeing The Manchurian Candidate. Got my new copy today. It's at least my third if we count an old itchy & scratchy VHS cassette from the film's first re-release in '88 and the original DVD issued more than 15 years ago. Essential viewing. Oh, yes, yes, yes. Ol' Cinematic Cteve wouldn't steer ya wrong.

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2016 by Steve Evans. All rights reserved.