Since its 1962 theatrical release, director John Frankenheimer‘s adaptation of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE has struck both a chord and a nerve in American politics and pop culture, and its cinematic relevance refuses to diminish even today as it finally gets an overdue high-definition release on Blu-ray May 10th.
Based on the 1959 Richard Condon novel published in the wake of McCarthyism and at the height of the Cold War, Frankenheimer’s film began production amid the tension-filled apex of John F. Kennedy’s presidency when the rosy myth of Camelot in the White House countered global threats of Red aggression encroaching just ninety miles off US shores. To put this controversial film in historical context: the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly triggered nuclear war the same week this film opened in theaters, and Kennedy was assassinated one year later.
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE remains as shocking, dramatic and thrilling as ever, and finally longtime fans and first-time viewers can see and appreciate this timely and timeless landmark. Starring Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra and Angela Lansbury, a stellar cast and taut, satiric script by George Axelrod, this classic shows no signs of age in the Blu-ray generation. Superbly transferred to high-def in its original widescreen format and backed up with rare bonus features including the cast and filmmakers, this frightening and ingenious dark satire deserves its status as must-see American cinema.