The Manchurian Candidate (1962)  » Movies  »
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  • Unfortunately Angela Lansbury is often best remembered, and not often that positively, for her long running television Murder She Wrote
  • Coates won the Best Film Editing Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia, a choice I don't agree with
  • The Garden Club Meeting/Lecture on Brainwashing near the movie's beginning is absolutely fantastic and I think stands above Lawrence of Arabia

    • by tfedge
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      The 1962 movie the “The Manchurian Candidate” is an excellent movie. Filmed in black and whiter, a favorite of mine, the movie lasts for 126 minutes and tells the story of Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) and Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra). The two men were the sergeant and the Captain of a patrol in Korea that became lost behind enemy lines. Shaw won a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics. When the men return to the United States Marco suffers from recurring nightmares where it appears that things aren’t quite right. The resulting movie is one of political intrigue, especially poignant when one remembers that it came out in 1962 when the Cold War was at its peak and people worried about what impact China and the Soviet Union might have on the United States. I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot. Just watch the movie it’s excellent. The garden club/brainwashing scene is excellent. Since I watched the movie on DVD I replayed the scene again and then made my wife come in and watch it with me.

      Unfortunately Angela Lansbury is often best remembered, and not often that positively, for her long running television “Murder She Wrote.” However she was a fine actress with a television and movie career that has spanned sixty years. This is to say nothing of her stage appearances where she won four Tonys. Her first four


      movie credits were “Gaslight,” “National Velvet,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” and “The Harvey Girls.” In the company of stars such as Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman, Mickey Rooney, Elizabeth Taylor, Donna Reed, Peter Lawford, and Judy Garland she garnered two Oscar nominations. As well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “The Manchurian Candidate”. Other notable performances include “The Long Hot Summer,” with Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Orson Welles.

      Lauren Harvey is probably not as well known today as he should be. He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for the 1959 movie “Room at the Top.” He lost to Charlton Heston and his horrible performance in “Ben-Hur,” although he probably should have lost to Jack Lemmon who played “Daphne” in “Some Like It Hot.”

      Frank Sinatra never will be, and never should be known as an actor. His performances are wooden and it’s clear he’s included in scripts to take advantage of his name rather than his talent. Most notable is the barely disguises reference to him in “The Godfather” where Marlon Brando rescues the career of his godson Johnny Fontane by killing the horse of the producer who is trying to block Fontane’s career and putting the horse’s head in bed with the producer. That’s not to say the same thing happened to Sinatra’s career, just that it’s an effort to the role Sinatra sought and got in “From Here to Eternity.”

      John ...


      • Frankenheimer directed both television and movies from 1948 until 2002. In the early 1960s he had a string of excellent movies. In 1961 he directed “Young Savages” starring Burt Lancaster and Shelley Winters. In 1962, besides “The Manchurian Candidate,” he directed “All Fall Down” starring Angela Lansbury, Karl Malden, Warren Beatty, and Eva Marie Saint and “The Birdman of Alcatraz” with Burt Lancaster, Karl Malden, and Thelma Ritter. In 1964 he directed “Seven Days in May” with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Fredric March, Ava Gardner, and Edmond O’Brien. Also in 1964 he directed “The Train” with Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. Frankenheimer and Burt Lancaster almost made a career together but they weren’t done. In 1969 they teamed up again with Deborah Kerr and Gene Hackman in “The Gypsy Moths.”

        The 1963 Academy Awards was a banner year. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Mutiny on the Bounty,” “The Music Man,” “The Longest Day,” and, the winner is, “Lawrence of Arabia” competed for Best Picture. Not even nominated for Best Picture were “The Birdman of Alcatraz,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane,” and “The Miracle Worker,” all topflight movies in their own right. “The Manchurian Candidate” managed to get to nominations among the many great movies of 1962. Nominated for Best Film Editing for Ferris Webster and Best Supporting Actress for Angela Lansbury. Lansbury lost out to Patty Duke for

        “The Miracle Worker,” probably a good choice although Lansbury did an excellent job. Angela Lansbury did win the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Mrs. Iselin. Anne V. Coates won the Best Film Editing Oscar for “Lawrence of Arabia,” a choice I don’t agree with. The Garden Club Meeting/Lecture on Brainwashing near the movie’s beginning is absolutely fantastic and I think stands above “Lawrence of Arabia.”

        Mrs. Iselin (Angela Lansbury) has some delightful lines in “The Manchurian Candidate”. “Oh, Raymond, what is the matter with you? You look as if your head were going to come to a point in the next thirteen seconds. To her husband, played by James Gregory perhaps best known for his role of Inspector Frank Luger on the “Barney Miller” television series, Mrs. Iselin says, “I keep telling you not to think! You’re very, very good at a great many things, but thinking, hon’, just simply isn’t one of them.”

        Dr. Yen Lo makes a comment that’s sure to stir the memories of Baby Boomers who remember when cigarettes were advertised on television. He describes what the men are smoking during the demonstration, “Yak dung!… hope tastes good - like a cigarette should!”

        I liked this movie a lot. It was thought provoking, especially the intercut scenes between the garden club and the brainwashing demonstration. Angela Lansbury played a particularly mean, domineering mother. I give this movie a 94% or an A.




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