The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Directed by John Frankenheimer. Written by George Axelrod. Starring Frank Sinatra & Janet Leigh. I avoided watching this one for a while because I love Demme's 2004 remake, and felt like this would be a boring version of that story... but it's definitely doing its own thing, and is just as gripping as the remake if not more so. Sinatra really dives into the man-on-a-hysteric-mania role, and Leigh is otherworldly with her too-hip-for-1962 dry wit.

The screenplay by George Axelrod (also wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Seven Year Itch) is incredibly psychedelic at times — the way one thought twists into another with no seeming connection (even though there's a loose connection to the weird idea previously in the movie); the way the movie introduces the brainwashing of the soldiers (and how the subconscious vision of the black soldier was totally different from that of the white soldier's)... 

Some of the ending elements are legitimately tragic.

And obviously the movie is timely post the Trump-Putin Helsinki summit. I dug the whole thing. Highly recommend you check it out before this Trump shit show ends.

I'm also extra curious about the works of John Frankenheimer now. Something about his intellectual-macho psychedelia-lite vibe feels intriguing...

Looks like Frankenheimer made a TV movie in the 90's about gunned-down Southern politician George Wallace (starring Gary Sinise — who's father, Bob Sinise, was the editor of 1963's Blood Feast). This movie also seems relevant to today's cultural landscape. I'm familiar with George Wallace's story because of its appearance in The Killing of America. Gonna check it out next.

North by Northwest (1959)

North by Northwest (1959)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)