Based on the 1959 novel by Robert Condon and tautly directed by John Frankenheimer, 'The Manchurian Candidate' is probably the greatest conspiracy film ever made, and it's all down to the unlikely casting. The once charming Laurence Harvey plays a dulled, brainwashed military man who has been conditioned by a higher government power to switch into an assassin every time he sees a Queen of Diamonds playing card.
The villain is played by Angela Lansbury (who would go on to be the friendly sleuth in 'Murder She Wrote'), while the hero trying to figure it all out is portrayed by a much grittier than usual Frank Sinatra in one of his finest roles. This all-American assassination conspiracy thriller came out at the height of the Cuban missile crisis and just before the assassination of JFK. Lee Harvey Oswald was said to have repeatedly watched the film before the shooting
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