This weekend, the George Eastman Museum, in Rochester, New York, will screen John Frankenheimer’s 1962 psycho-political thriller The Manchurian Candidate as part of its Election Countdown series. Suffused with an ideological hysteria that bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s political climate, this macabre adaptation of Richard Condon’s 1959 novel of the same name centers on U.S. Army sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), who is captured, along with his platoon, during the Korean War and brainwashed by the Communists into becoming a sleeper assassin. After returning home, a fellow POW (Frank Sinatra) begins to experience harrowing flashbacks that lead him to uncover Shaw’s involvement in a shocking international conspiracy. As the film hurtles toward an explosive climax set at a political convention, it offers a deeply unsettling tour of the modern American political machine in all its nightmarish complexity.
Those in Rochester can see the film on Saturday in the museum’s Dryden Theatre. For a closer look at the film’s production, read our interview with the director’s widow, Evans Frankenheimer.