During this week in 1962: John Frankenheimer's mind-bending United Artists thriller The Manchurian Candidate began shooting, with @sinatra playing a former Korean War POW, tormented by recurring nightmares, who's swept into an assassination plot engineered by the Communists. This film is first-rate and Frankenheimer's best. Laurence Harvey is the Manchurian candidate. Angela Lansbury is devastating as his manipulative mother. At the time @sinatra said, "I'm more excited about this part than any other I've played. I'm saying things in this script that I've never had to speak on the screen before. Never had to speak at all for that matter. Long, wild speeches." And writer/producer George Axelrod recalled, "I thought it would be terrific to have that marvelous, beat-up Sinatra face giving forth long, incongruous speeches." During the filming of the karate scene with Henry Silva, Frank accidentally broke a dining room table with his hand and managed to break his finger, too. Nobody knew about the broken finger until after the scene was finished because he just kept on. Many years later, my Frank said about the film, "I think it's a damn good film. The screenplay was wonderful and it was based on the book by Richard Condon—one of the most interesting I ever read. The direction was superb. And Larry Harvey was a consummate, powerful actor. He had a great inner strength."
Frank Sinatra and Laurence Harvey in
a crucial scene from The Manchurian
Candidate. The success of this film
was due in part to John Frankenheimer's
use of the innovative handheld camera,
which added greatly to the tension and suspense. .
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