Great Adaptations: The Manchurian Candidate | Denver Film Society | John Frankenheimer | USA

Great Adaptations: The Manchurian Candidate

John Frankenheimer

EnglishUSA1962126 min


No upcoming showtimes scheduled.


Wednesday, May 23rd at 7:00pm
Part of our Great Adaptations series!
Pre-film lecture "Political Nightmares In The Cold War Era" and post-film discussion led by Melinda Barlow, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

As eerily prescient at the moment of its release as it is for our own time, The Manchurian Candidate is a taut political thriller smartly directed by Golden Age of television veteran John Frankenheimer. “The last, most sophisticated film of the Cold War era,” as one critic put it, this early ‘60s tour de force adapted from the shocking novel by Richard Condon (1959) plays like mid-70s conspiracy theory cinema while leveling a serious critique against McCarthyism. Featuring gorgeous black and white cinematography and spectacular dream sequences, the film stars Laurence Harvey as Raymond Shaw, the son of a prominent political family who returns irrevocably changed by the Korean War; Angela Lansbury as his unforgettable mother; and Frank Sinatra as Major Bennett Marco, a man trying to understand his own recurring nightmares, and figure out why Shaw is suddenly acting so strangely.

Melinda Barlow, Ph.D., is the recipient of four teaching awards from CU. A film historian, curator, and creator of more than 50 local and national workshops on mentoring, she is the editor of Mary Lucier: Art & Performance, and co-curator of “Primal Seen: Selections from the CU Art Museum’s Collection of Photography from the 19th Century to the Present” and “1959: A Golden Year on the Silver Screen” at the Sie FilmCenter. Professor Barlow has programmed and/or lectured for the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in Newfoundland, the Athena Film Festival in NYC, BendFilm in Oregon, the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, and Indie Memphis. She received The Dorothy Martin Woman Faculty Member Award for her research on women artists, the Women Who Make a Difference Award from her students at CU, and The Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Award in Video Criticism from the Video Data Bank in Chicago.

With more than 50% of all films in release over the last century having been adapted from books, the journey that a creative property takes from page to screen is a unique and complicated one. In order to be a truly great adaptation how close must you follow the original material and how much can you stray and take off from the beaten path? Characters, timelines, locations, endings, everything is up for interpretation and those changes can be met with either chagrin or celebration.
We're taking five different films, each considered one of the best adaptations of its source material and diving in to see what each did to set themselves apart. From the wild and abstract "Adaptation." to the snappy "The Thin Man", the shocking "Manchurian Candidate", the expansive "Blade Runner" and the vivid and terrifying "It".

Cinematographer: Lionel Lindon | Screenwriter: George Axelrod, John Frankenheimer based on the novel by Richard Condon
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury