Friday, August 13, 2010

50. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)


My dear girl, have you ever noticed that the human race is divided into two distinct and irreconcilable groups: those that walk into rooms and automatically turn television sets on, and those that walk into rooms and automatically turn them off. The trouble is that they end up marrying each other.

Way ahead of its time, this movie is one of the first mind-bending trippy thrillers. The central plot follows a group of Korean war vets who are sharing a disturbing dream and eventually discover that at least one of their group is serving as a brainwashed Communist spy. The movie twists and turns with the help of flawless acting from Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury (yeah, from Murder, She Wrote). Probably the most astounding aspect of the film, though, is that it was released at the height of the Cuban Missle Crisis and the "red scare". I am sure that the story hit pretty close to home for viewers of that time, and changed the way that many people look at the Queen of Diamonds forever.

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