One of most unsettling scenes of all times is at the beginning of this film, as Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), a soldier captured by a Russian squad during the Korean war, responds to a white haired woman in what seemed to be a kind of tea party political event; although it is not, the white haired woman being a Russian officer, and the audience composed of gentle women are, in fact, Russian and Korean military personnel. The camera pans and pans, hallucinating, every time, the scene is different. Raymond Shaw returns to the USA as a decorated soldier who heroically saved his platoon under the fire of superior enemy forces; yet the two men lost in that action were murdered by him under the command of the Russians, after having been psychologically programmed.
After his return to the USA, he abruptly distances himself from his mother, an extreme right wing political activist (reminiscences of McCarthy here) who, in fact, is a Russian operative. His assassin's rifle is on his intended victim, a presidential candidate: will he?
It is highly improbable that our times' paranoia can ever generate a film this intense and unsettling: this time the "enemy" are not necessarily in our midst, and, even if they are, they can be "easily" be identified as those aliens with brown skin and a funny religion.
This film shows that pretty boy Frank Sinatra could actually act, Laurence Harvey strongly conveying the unlovability of Raymond Shaw, one of the central themes in the film.
LATEST: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE WILL BE RELEASED ON 16th APRIL