"The Manchurian Candidate" is a black and white Cold War thriller that stands the test of time. Although the movie was made over 25 years ago it gives the feeling as if it was made yesterday. "The Manchurian Candidate" staring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Janet Leigh, costarring Angela Lansbury and James Gregory, was released in 1962, then suppressed for nearly a quarter of a century, due to the Kennedy assassination. Sinatra felt it was only the right thing to do. There is not a moment in this film that is short of suspense, comedy, and plenty of plot twists.
The film starts in Korea in 1952; a group of American infantryman are captured and kidnapped by Chinese Communist during combat, then flown away in helicopters. In the first few opening scenes Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Harvey) is given a congressional medal of honor, and we hear the incredible, in a sense unbelievable, story of how Shaw killed the Chinese and rescued the 9 remaining members of his patrol from their control. The scene immediately cuts to Major Ben Marco (Sinatra) having a dream, or nightmare as he refers to it. It was interesting how director John Frankenheimer filmed the dream sequences. The dream would start with Marco's face fading out and fading in the dream scene of Shaw's entire patrol sitting behind a lady speaking of Hydrangeas at a meeting in a hotel in New Jersey. Only a few moments into the scene as the camera is on the audience of the Hydrangea meeting the lady speaker transforms into a Chinese hypnotist. Then as the camera is on the Chinese hypnotist the audience is change to a balcony of Chinese officials observing the patrol and what they have been conditioned to do. Right before Marco awakes in screaming fit of cold sweat he witnesses Sgt. Shaw strangle on of his patrol members in a cheerful manner.
The transitions from scene to scene really keep the audience intrigued by cutting on actions, and not giving a conclusion.