Thursday, January 30, 2014


I watched the 1962 George Axelrod screenplay version of Richard Condon's novel The Manchurian Candidate last night for the first time.
I found it tough to follow toward the beginning, not having any idea of the plot, other than what our lame ass cable provider provided (which is typically vague and repetitive: "Starring Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis leads a cast of stars in this exciting action drama full of action and excitement.", or some other such non-informative tagline).
The picture is set during and after the Korean War, and tells the story of several US Army soldiers who have spent time being indoctrinated as POW's. Raymond Shaw plays the main character Laurence Harvey, who suffers severely from the effects of the brainwashing intermittently throughout the picture.
Frank Sinatra plays the character who ends up being the hero, even though he violently attacks an innocent American, thinking him one of the  Korean enemies. Angela Lansbury does a convincing job portraying Harvey's domineering mother, intent on promoting her senator husband to the presidency whatever the cost.
I'm glad I watched this last night on TCM (unedited and without commercial interruptions!!), even though I don't usually voluntarily watch pictures from the 1950's or 60's, and even though there was enough violence for me to wish that I had watched it some other time (say, on a warm summer afternoon). As a thriller, this was pretty good.

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