Friday, September 3, 2010

The Manchurian Candidate

Frank Sinatra (having lost most of his skinny look by now) plays a major who keeps having nightmares of his time of capture during the Korean War, dreams involving Sergeant Laurence Harvey. Angela Lansbury is Harvey's ambitious mother and Janet Leigh is the girl who falls for Sinatra.

The film is about political powerstruggles and brainwashed assassins, and realisticly speaking it doesn't all make that much sense. There are some silly parts, like the Jump in the lake-sequence and that Harvey's girlfriend just happens to be dressed as the Queen of diamonds at a masquerade. There's also a genuinly shocking sequence where Harvey acts against his American operative's enemies (I'm trying not to give too much away here!)

In the remake by Jonathan Demme, starring Denzel Washington, they updated the story and made everything more logical, something that made the whole film fall completely flat. They lost all the fun and creepy stuff from the original, like the women's tea party scene. The original is still a tremendously entertaining and exciting film.

Next: Guys and dolls


  1. Ah, you've chosen the train scene for illustration. I saw the movie a long time ago, but I found that scene totally puzzling. They're supposed to be meeting for the first time? yet the dialogue sounds so artificial it feels like they were exchanging passwords...

    It could also be my mind/memory playing tricks with me, though.... *ominous music*

  2. The scene doesn't make sense at all. He's twitching and sweating like a madman, yet she falls for him. It helps to be Frank Sinatra, I guess!

  3. I love this movie and I especially love all the scenes between Frank Sinatra and Janet Leigh:

    "They're supposed to be meeting for the first time? yet the dialogue sounds so artificial it feels like they were exchanging passwords..."

    In the context of a movie that deals with hypnosis the scene where she approaches him is pitch perfect. He's just learned his mind has been manipulated during events he can barely remember, he's a mess, totally vulnerable, then here comes this woman: what does she want, why is she speaking so strangely? Are these commie mind tricks or flirtatious attempts to allure?

    There's an exchange between them from later in the movie after they've discovered they're both orphans I think is great:

    JL: I used to be convinced that as a baby I was the sole survivor of a spaceship that overshot Mars.

    FS: Very sexy stuff. Very, very sexy.

  4. I didn't remember that bit. That's a cool dialogue.

    I like your take on the scene,K.D. . I agree it's so strange it's a great meet cute scene.

    I need to watch this movie again.