W: George Axelrod [based on the novel by
DP: Lionel Lindon
Ed: Ferris Webster
Mus: David Amram
PD: Richard Sylbert
Frank Sinatra (Bennett Marco), Lawrence Harvey (Raymond
Shaw), Janet Leigh (Rosie), James Gregory (Sen. John Iselin), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Shaw), Henry Silva (Chunjim), John McGiver (Sen. Thomas Jordan)
Based on the novel by Richard Condon and released at a
time when the Cold War was at the forefront of many people's minds, this classic political thriller sees a Korean War hero (Lawrence Harvey) return to America as a brainwashed assassin
triggered to murder a liberal senator. Meanwhile, a military investigator (Frank Sinatra) is plagued by nightmares and has his suspicions that not all is as it seems.
Angela Lansbury delivers a brilliantly chilling
performance as the main character's monstrously ambitious mother.
Perhaps it goes on for 20 minutes more than it ought to,
but it's a fine example of its genre and one of the very best films of the early 1960's.
A remake emerged in 2004, and didn't do a bad job with the
D: Jonathan Demme
Paramount (Ilona Herzberg, Jonathan Demme,
Scott Rudin & Tina Sinatra)
W: Daniel Pyne & Dean
Georgaris [based on the novel by Richard Condon]
One of the best remakes in recent years,
updating the story to incorporate events of the Gulf War.
Denzel Washington plays a decorated
soldier experiencing terrifying flashbacks of his tour of duty and uncovers a conspiracy involving a presidential election and an eerie brainwashing experiment.
Director Jonathan Demme is spot-on with
the update of both the 1962 film and Richard Condon's original novel, even managing to append a unique twist to the proceedings which doesn't feel forced or
The casting decisions are also fantastic,
particularly Meryl Streep filling the shoes of Angela Lansbury's creepy performance in the previous film. I personally prefer the 1962 version, but as far as remakes go, it's
a nice change to have one this enjoyable.