The Manchurian candidate

Watching an inebriated Robert Shaw (Laurence Harvey) describe to Bennette Marco (Frank Sinatra) about how he feels about his feelings in a long male bonding evening is one of those moments that makes film viewing a special pleasure.

Understanding the idea behind the creation of this brilliant movie, possibly one of the best war/political thrillers of all times, is one of those rare joys that are so completely lacking in most modern cinema.

When Korean war hero Robert Shaw returns to America he is celebrated by the entire country and specially so by his politically ambitious step-mother Mrs. Iselin, whom he hates.

His fellow soldier, Marco, however has these weird dreams about the role actually played by Shaw. When murders start happening around Marco and Shaw, nobody knows what else to do but to blame Marco. What follows is a tale of intrigue and passion that is unparalleled in movie history. You can blame the movie for being too surrealistic but you can't blame it for not thrilling the hell out of you.

Frank Sinatra as Marco is very effective. He is controlled and conventional. Harvey as Shaw is brilliant. He is a complex mix of ambition, self-pity and sel-doubt that makes him rather heroic. Angela Lansbury plays Mrs. Iselin -- a very clever, ambitious poticial wife who wants to realize her ambitions at any cost through her bumbling husband. She steals the show with an accurate and brutal performance. She is the epitome of political ambition and its inevitable marriage with often self-destructing corruption.

John Frankenheimer, mostly a miss, directs this hit movie with unusal elan. This movie is easily his best work.