Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Manchurian Candidate: Frank Sinatra vs Denzel Washington Version

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is director-producer John Frankenheimer's prophetically tragic, chilling, brilliant, blackish (film-noirish) Cold War thriller about brain-washing, conspiracy, the dangers of international Communism, McCarthyism, assassination, and political intrigue. Laurence Harvey is brilliant as a brainwashed Korean war hero who has been programmed as a Soviet sleeper/mole agent to assassinate a Presidential candidate.

The 1962 film the Manchurian Candidate is a certified classic. The political thriller was so good that it earned the best tribute it could get. A remake. In 2004, Denzel Washington took on the role originally played by Frank Sintra.

There was of course some updating in the remake, some new tweets, and lots of color. But the original black and white, still holds it own. So which one is better and what has been said in comparing the two films?Most film fans who were familiar with the original political thriller tend to side with the 1962 version. But under the direction of Johnathan Demme with a cast that included along side Denzel the likes of Meryl Streep and Liev Schreilber, they do a fabulous job. It’s a strong piece of cinema that comes as a fresher, bright version of the dark and foreboding original.

The Manchurian Candidate (1959), by Richard Condon, is a political thriller novel about the son of a prominent US political family who has been brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist Party.

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