#154 / 365 – ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ (1962) – 126 mins
IMDb Challenge #91 / 250 – Ranked #156 – Via DVD Collection
Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) returns from the Korean War a decorated soldier, but his fellow servers can’t remember him doing anything that warranted such reward. Strange psychological occurrences take place and Shaw begins to think he has been brainwashed and is a potential political threat.
I’m going to keep this review very short. Whilst director John Frankenheimer builds fantastic suspense and tension at the beginning of this well conceived political thriller, it severely lacks power in its middle act, which occasionally slips into high melodrama territory to grip from which it never fully recovers. I didn’t buy into the poorly executed 2004 Jonathan Demme remake of the same name, starring Denzel Washington and on this first viewing evidence of the 1962 original today it ultimately meets the same fate.
Credit though for Angela Lansbury’s performance as Shaw’s sinister and politically ambitious mother, a performance that is far removed from her ‘Murder She Wrote’ days and one I will hold in high regard.