The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 political thriller film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury. It’s overrated.

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It’s a terrible thing to hate your mother.

But I didn’t always hate her.

When I was a child, I only kind of disliked her

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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I have almost the same opinion of The Manchurian Candidate as I have of another 60s political thriller ‘Z’. Both are competently made films and very well acted, but both are dull. But this one isn’t frenetic but rather opposite – it is excruciatingly slow paced, uninvolving and ultimately it bored me so much. Political movies should appeal to everyone including non-fans such as myself and this one failed miserably at that.

The story has its moments, but it is mostly not great, certainly not deserving the praise that it received. It truly is one of the most overrated films from this period and of course it came from probably the weakest film year ever which is 1962. It also isn’t really a thriller, but it’s also not a drama. It has a conflicting nature to it and was to me just too static to enjoy.

Janet Leigh is very memorable and beautiful here. Laurence Harvey is also quite solid. Angela Lansbury as the villain killed it and she is the standout here and probably the only legitimately great reason to see this movie as her performance is truly remarkable as is her character. But all of the other characters are throwaway, dull entities for whom I never cared about at all.

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The Manchurian Candidate Movie Review

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The Manchurian Candidate is well shot, but lacks score which was critical to sell those thriller sequences and thus it fails as a political thriller. It looks nice, but should have also sounded nice. The performances are very good, but John Frankenheimer’s direction not so much. It felt unprofessional and ultimately a problem the movie never overcame. The pacing is, as I said, beyond sluggish and the runtime is actually way too long as it is slightly over two hours but the plot never needed that much time. In the end, this is one giant overrated mess that isn’t a bad movie per say, but it is so weak and riddled with flaws that it frustrated me along with being a highly tedious experience.

The Manchurian Candidate is very well acted with Angela Lansbury giving a standout, memorable performance, but the film is overlong, static in quality, so incredibly dull and never at all engaging or thrilling and thus it fails as a thriller and it is one very overrated film in my opinion.

My Rating – 3

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Posted in 1960s, 1962, FILM DECADES, MOVIE REVIEWS, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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