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Feature


After saving the lives of his platoon during the Korean War, Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) is hailed as a bona fide American hero. This couldn't have come at a better time for his mother (Angela Lansbury) who is hell-bent on boosting the career of his stepfather, a senator straight from the McCarthyite wing of the US political spectrum with designs on the Presidency.

 Manchurian Candidate, The
So far so familiar but why does Shaw s former captain (Frank Sinatra) have recurring nightmares that suggest that his distinguished comrade-in-arms might not be all that he seems?

Based on the memorably paranoid best-seller by Richard Condon (Prizzi s Honor), this is one of the greatest of all Cold War suspense thrillers, not least for its alarmingly original take on the notion of the enemy within . Angela Lansbury won multiple awards and an Oscar nomination for her performance as one of the most monstrous mothers in screen history, but perhaps the most unnerving thing about the film is the way that its political satire remains so perfectly on target more than half a century later.

 Manchurian Candidate, The

Video


Arrow provides a lush black and white image with varied levels of black that offer varying results but it all still provides a strong image with a strong sense of depth and detail. Wide angles give a great sense of real world locations and there's plenty going on in most of the scenes, providing a good sense of space where required.

Across the board edges are solid and the film feels fresh and bright despite its age. Light reflections in actor's eyes twinkle really well at times and tiny details that reflect light really show off. Beyond the odd bit of noticeable grain in some of the blend edits the entire film looks wonderfully clean and this HD upgrade gives the film a great overhaul and makes for a fantastic way to rediscover it.

 Manchurian Candidate, The

Audio


The mono track still manages to pack in a good sense of multi layers and balances score, dialogue and sound effects to great effect. None of the elements step on each others toes and there's barely any muffled peaks.

There's a crispness to the whole presentation that's very pleasing and once again the fresh overhaul is thoroughly felt within the audio presentation. Being a mono track, there's not much more to say but never once did I sense any limitations from the older mono track and it never once felt all that dated beyond some of the sounds of that old Hollywood way of talking and that's even a mild thing here really.

 Manchurian Candidate, The

Extras


The commentary with John Frankenheimer is very knowledgeable and full of a lot of warmth even though its quite formal and comes in burst of input rather a consistent ramble like many solo tracks can suffer from.

'The Directors: John Frankenheimer' (58:32 HD). Kicking off with Samuel L. Jackson this appreciation of Frankenheimer a star filled celebration of the directors work. Starting with his television work the documentary covers the themes Frankenheimer has covered in his projects and his work with actors and his shooting style. If only all releases came with this sort of coverage for the people involved in the films.

 Manchurian Candidate, The
Interviews are split into three sections. The first has John Frankenheimer, Frank Sinatra and George Axelrod (07:48 HD) and features the three reminiscing over the film in a reunion of sorts. They are enthusiastic, full of stories and obviously still fond of the film.

'Queen of Diamonds: Angela Lansbury' (14:51 HD) is a good length and has Lansbury providing an overview of her participation on the film and her struggle with playing a nasty piece of work.

'A Little Solitaire: William Friedkin' (13:17 HD) has the film director praising the film and John Frankenheimer with a whole lot of enthusiasm that only a real fan can muster.

Last up is the theatrical trailer, as well a duel sided cover an nice thick colour booklet adding even more insight in the film and a DVD copy of the film to boot.

 Manchurian Candidate, The

Overall


The Manchurian Candidate is a slow burner packed with great performances and a lot to say. The film is beautifully shot and this Blu-ray releases celebrates a the hell out of it with a great video presentation and a solid audio track. Top that off with a ton of great extras and the extra booklet included and this is a release well worth any film lover's time.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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