Sunday, February 13, 2011

I’m Stumped

The Beloved Spouse and I watched the original 1962 version of The Manchurian candidate last night. Can someone please explain to me why this is such a revered film? I understand how it captured the zeitgeist of the time, but the dialog is stilted, the acting is hammy, the plot has more holes than a junkie streetwalker’s stockings, and what the hell was the deal with Janet Leigh's character?


Mike Dennis said...

This film was revered, Dana, because at the time, it was explosive. It put forth the idea that a presidential candidate, and perhaps even the entire Korean War itself, could be the result of a long-term Communist plot to take over the US. Naturally, this threw a bomb into the white-hot Cold War hysteria of the time.

Also, the presence of Frank Sinatra at the very zenith of his Rat Pack popularity added to its status. As for the acting, I rather liked Angela Lansbury and for that matter, Sinatra. Janet Leigh was a big star at the time and, according to the old Hollywood mantra, they needed "a girl" for Sinatra as the love interest.

Following the JFK Assassination, it was withheld from public view for over 20 years. That only added to its mystique.

Dana King said...

I'd forgotten about how it was pulled from circulation for over twenty years. Still, it's been back for over twenty, and you'd think more attention would be paid to the plot holes (Janet Leigh meets Sinatra on the train, where he's an obvious wreck, and dumps her fiance for him before he even has a chance to call her? Please.) The American hero soldier who clearly has a British public school accent? The over the top readings of most of the lines? What's the statute of limitations on crap?

I can't remember being more disappointed in a movie.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, Lawrence Harvey seems to have been cued to play it as a zombie. It just doesn't work well now.