The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

2h 5m / PG-13 / Thriller

History has kind of lost sight of the fact that Frank Sinatra was a well-regarded actor. Even ignoring his musicals, Ol’ Blue Eyes put together a pretty solid filmography – he won Best Supporting Actor for From Here to Eternity! He was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for The Man with the Golden Arm! He was a convincing action star in Von Ryan’s Express! But his best role was in Cold War thriller The Manchurian Candidate, playing an Army captain who harbors suspicions about the Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Raymond Shaw, he used to command. Shaw has been turned into a sleeper agent for the Soviets through hypnosis and brainwashing, and he seeks to assassinate a presidential nominee and throw the U.S. into chaos (look for a scorching, brilliant Oscar-nominated performance from a young Angela Lansbury as Shaw’s mother).

Vivid and smart, at turns gritty and surreal, Hollywood scuttlebutt is that it was removed from distribution for political reasons after JFK’s assassination. In truth, the film was widely forgotten until the ‘80s. But, like reappraisals of Frank Sinatra’s acting career and the spectre of Russian infiltration, history forgotten tends to reiterate itself.

Immediately after the film, retired Tampa Bay Times film critic Steve Persall will lead a short discussion of The Manchurian Candidate and an audience Q&A. The session is included with film admission.

The Summer Classics Movie Series is presented by Bank of America.

Media support is provided by WEDU-PBS. Additional support is provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, and the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners.