Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The (fictional) Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate is a fantastic 1962 John Frankenheimer film staring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Angela Lansbury, Henry Silva, and James Gregory. The film was nominated for Best Film Editing and Angela Lansbury for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. However, she did win a Golden Globe for her role in this film.

The plot follows Maj. Bennett Marco (Sinatra), a former Korean War solider who has returned home, gotten on with his life, and is having a reoccurring nightmare, where he, along with his unit are in a surreal dream in which some of his men are killed. He begins to believe that certain events that occurred when they were in the combat zone may have never occurred and that the medal of honor for his commanding officer, Raymond Shaw (Harvey) may not actually be deserved. This film revolves around the Presidential election, and the nomination of Raymond's step-father, John Iselin, to the position of Vice President.

The film, stylized in Black and White, in a time of Color pictures for most mainstream films, gives it a certain charm and feel for the times.

The climax is one of the most chilling and suspenseful moments in cinema that I have witnessed in my entire life. That is not to say that the rest of the film is not brilliantly done, it is. Almost every shot is perfectly framed, every angle chosen carefully, the cinematography is fantastic.

The film, pulled from the theaters after the assassination of President Kennedy, was quite controversial. I'm not surprised in the least, even by today's standards, the ending is a gut wrenching shock to the system.


No comments: