Major Ben Marco (Frank Sinatra) is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army. He served valiantly as a captain in the Korean war and his Sergeant, Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), even won the Medal of Honor. Marco has a major problem however: he has a recurring nightmare, one where two members of his squad are killed by Shaw. He's put on indefinite sick leave and visits Shaw in New York. Shaw for his part has established himself well, despite the misgivings of his domineering mother, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin (Angela Lansbury). She is a red-baiter, accusing anyone who disagrees with her right-wing reactionary views of being a Communist. Raymond hates her, not only for how she's treated him but equally because of his step-father, the ineffectual U.S. Senator John Iselin (James Gregory), who is intent on seeking higher office. When Marco learns that others in his Korean War unit have had nightmares similar to his own, he realizes that something happened to all of them in Korea and that Raymond...Written by
When Raymond Shaw shoots Private Bobby Lembeck in the forehead, the sound is not of a 45 automatic pistol, but of a rifle. See more »
[a nightmare switches between a ladies' garden club and a Soviet/Chinese military hospital]
You will notice that I have told them they may smoke. I've allowed my people to have a little fun in the selection of bizarre tobacco substitutes... Are you enjoying your cigarette, Ed?
Dr. Yen Lo:
Yak dung!... hope tastes good - like a cigarette should!
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The live TV cameras in the senate hearing and press conference carry the NBC logo used at the time the film was made, not the logo used at the time the story takes place. See more »
West German version was edited (ca. 4 minutes) to remove every scene with the ladies in the greenhouse. To this day all home video releases contain the cut version. An uncut version (with subtitles for the missing scenes) was shown on Arte. See more »
One of the big surprises about "The Manchurian Candidate" is Angela Lansbury in a villainous role. Between "Murder, She Wrote" and her work for Disney, you can't help but entertain a kindly image of the actor.
The other surprise is how potent this still is, even at the 55 year mark. Maybe that's because I lobe '70s movies of the genre, but even still, this is a highly effective political thriller. And that's due in large part to Frankenheimer's skilled direction and a script full of inventive deceit. It even has plenty of time to skewer McCarthyism. Almost everything seen here has been done since, but you're still left unprepared for that one last plot twist. Well-executed, to say the least.
The cast is star-studded, the story's engrossing and there's almost a playful sense of humor to it.
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