Reintroducing John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Mar 14, 2016

It’s been more than fifty years since the release of The Manchurian Candidate, and yet the Cold War thriller remains just as heart-stopping as it was at its 1962 premiere. In the film, set in the early nineteen-fifties and adapted from Richard Condon’s novel of the same title, director John Frankenheimer explores the ramifications (political and psychological) of McCarthy-era madness and Cold War paranoia. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury, the film centers on a U.S. Army sergeant (Harvey) who is taken prisoner during the Korean War and brainwashed into becoming a sleeper assassin for a Communist conspiracy. Meanwhile, his fellow POWs (including Sinatra) begin suffering from harrowing flashbacks, which lead them to unravel the grand scheme. Teeming with anxiety and intrigue, Frankenheimer’s gripping film never misses a beat, while his cast members deliver some of the greatest performances of their careers.

For the occasion of our release of The Manchurian Candidate (out on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow), we’re sharing its hypnotic original theatrical trailer. Watch it above to get a taste of the film’s spine-tingling drama.