One of the greatest paranoid thrillers, and nastiest political satires ever made. Lawrence Harvey stars as a war hero who returns from a Korean War prison camp with a brain that was not only washed, but also starched, pressed, and folded. Angela Lansbury plays Harvey’s politically ambitious mother.
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Starting with a twist that most thrillers would end on, at times it has some of the most creatively psychologically-unnerving scenes that I've ever seen. But then the rest lacks flow to be one of the few times that a film's depth and character drama grudgingly gets in the way of its hook: gripping tension and suspense. A rare overrated film by Frankenheimer, and of which, its later Watergate-offspring strengthened.
An unique political parable, simultaneously debtor of a realism made possible by a very fluid technique, a superior example of cinema's language capabilities. In a fiction so implausible as elastic, Frankenheimer gives us a revealing story that more than a psychological thriller, is a lesson of how to make- how to see.
I first saw this probably 12-13 years ago, when I was only first beginning my true interest in cinema, and just rewatched it today. I still find it fantastic. It works as a thriller, a chilling psychological drama, and with surprising bits of humor. Overall, an intriguing artifact of the Cold War and Cold War-era politics. One of my favorites of the 1960s.
Nefarious establishment mind-control techniques may vary in design and degree over time but this remains as prescient now as ever - in satiric tone if not detail. In itself a superior political thriller, crisply, if lengthily realised with some askew plotting (notably in the central section including a thankless role for Leigh). Surely Lansbury's finest hour on film in a role with all the sympathy of Clytemnestra.
How has it taken me this long to see this?? All the principal actors were never better. One of Frankeheimer's best thrillers and one of the best of the "paranoia/conspiracy" genre if you can call that a genre