The Manchurian Candidate
1962
****½
Director: John Frankenheimer
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, James Gregory, Leslie Parrish

This hypnotic conspiracy thriller tells a fantastically paranoid story about literal Communist brainwash. The stepson of a U.S. Senator returns home from the Korean War as a decorated war hero, but some of the men in his platoon have recurring nightmares about what may have really happened. The film is tense, bold and weird, and it’s quite amazing that something like this was released at the height of Cold War. Laurence Harvey gives an intense lead performance and Angela Lansbury is wonderfully nasty as his overbearing mother. The story is adapted from Richard Condon’s novel, which was refilmed in 2004 by Jonathan Demme.