Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'John Frankenheimer'.
Found 2 results
I suspect most readers here have neither seen "The Fixer," nor are familiar with the grotesque (but true) accusation of "Blood Libel" (completely unrelated to the term "Blood Simple"). Sir Alan Bates was justifiably honored for his portrayal of an early-twentieth-century Russian Jew named Yakov Bok (based on the unbelievable-but-true story of Menahem Mendel Beilis) with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor (which went to Cliff Robertson for "Charly" (which was a fine performance, but Bates deserved the award)) . The book (reportedly superior to the film) was written by Bernard Malamud (author of "The Natural"), and the screenplay by Dalton Trumbo (writer of "Roman Holiday" and director of "Johnny Got His Gun"). I won't summarize the film, but although slightly hamfisted (Trumbo was talented, but not subtle), this is an important movie, and a laudable performance by Bates, who looks freakishly like Anton Chigurh (enough so that I think that several aspects of Chigurh were based on Yakov Bok, even though one man is pure good, and the other is pure evil). For now, the film is available, in high quality, for free on YouTube, but I council people to watch it all in one day, and to be prepared for something more than lighthearted fare.
When I was in my mid-20s (maybe in the late 80s), "The Manchurian Candidate" made a revival on the big screen, and I saw it, and really enjoyed it while also thinking it was something almost campy. Now that I've seen it a second time, I realize that I was too uneducated to appreciate the film - this was an incredibly well-done movie, somehow able to take the absolutely unbelievable - bordering on the ridiculous - and make it seem positively realistic and possible. For me, The Manchurian Candidate is almost like a "Greatest Hits" album of actors, and I cannot imagine how Frank Sinatra - and for that matter, Lawrence Harvey - weren't nominated for Best Actor (the great Angela Lansbury was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, which is reasonable, but she was outperformed by both of these men). It says a lot that The Manchurian Candidate would speak louder and more clearly, and also be more believable, to an educated 55-year-old man than an enthusiastic, but ultimately ignorant 24-year-old boy. Back in the 1980s, I considered myself very knowledgeable about film for an amateur; what I wasn't knowledgeable about was life itself. Back then, I distinctly remember talking with a Vietnam Veteran, who made an off-the-cuff remark to the extent of, "I really have trouble watching that stuff, because it messes with my mind," and I can easily see how he thought that ... now; back then, I didn't really understand. I just cannot get over how this movie managed to make something so utterly implausible seem so incredibly realistic and possible. Although I had no memory of how the film ended, I did manage to guess the ending sequence with a high degree of accuracy, but though I knew what was coming (or thought I did), nothing was ruined or compromised - the film ended exactly how it needed to - it was a heart-wrenching, but beautiful, ending to a heart-wrenching film. The Manchurian Candidate is a *big* film, with *big*, *bold* ideas and messages, and it succeeds on that level, but what makes it truly great is the individual-level, human tragedy that unfolds before our eyes. The irony of a sabotage-themed work invoking such strong feelings of patriotism - all without overtly manipulating the viewer in that regard - is amazing in-and-of itself. I'm not sure how "good" this film is rated by critics, but this is absolutely one of the most important Cold War movies I've ever seen. Sadly, people who are any younger than I am will simply not be able to relate to this in the way that I can, as my formative years were spent during the apogee of the Cold War - in elementary school, we'd crawl under our desks to simulate how we'd act in case of a nuclear-bomb attack. Although I suppose this generation of children has their own cross to bear, with being trained how to deal with school shootings - the more things change, the more they stay the same. There is a *ton* of symbolism in this movie - much of it obvious, some of it more subtle, but it's probably nearly impossible to pick it all out. You could watch this film a second time, just looking for symbols, and not waste your time. An absolutely classic film in several regards, and the best work I've ever seen from both Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey.