The Manchurian Candidate (1962 film)

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The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War political thriller film starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury and featuring Henry Silva, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish and John McGiver. It was directed by John Frankenheimer from an adaptation by George Axelrod of Richard Condon's 1959 novel.

The central concept of the film is that the son of a prominent, right-wing political family has been brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. The Manchurian Candidate was nationally released on Wednesday, October 24, 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.



During the Korean War, the Soviets capture an American platoon and take them to Manchuria in Communist China. After the war, the soldiers return to the United States, and Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is credited with saving their lives in combat. Upon the recommendation of the platoon's commander, Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra), Shaw is awarded the Medal of Honor for his supposed actions. In addition, when asked to describe him, Marco and the other soldiers automatically respond, "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life." Deep down, however, they know that Shaw is a cold, sad, unsociable loner.

Marco — who has since been promoted to Major — suffers from a recurring nightmare in which a hypnotized Shaw kills two fellow soldiers before the assembled military brass of communist nations, during a practical demonstration of a brainwashing technique. Marco wants to investigate, but receives no support from Army Intelligence as he has no proof. However, Marco learns that another soldier from the platoon, Allen Melvin (James Edwards), has had the same nightmare. When Melvin and Marco separately identify some of the men in the dream as leading figures in communist governments, Army Intelligence agrees to help Marco investigate.

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