Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Manchurian Classic?

I keep reading about the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and most articles refer to the 1962 film as a classic. As Louis Menand noted last year (September 15, 2003) in the New Yorker:

Most people probably think of the movie as a classic of Cold War culture, like "On the Beach" and "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" – a popular work articulating the anxieties of the era. In fact, "The Manchurian Candidate" was a flop. It was released in the fall of 1962, failed to recover its costs, and was pulled from distribution two years later, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It turned up a few times on television, but it was not shown in a movie theatre again until 1987, which – nearly the end of the Cold War – is the year its popularity dates from. The true artifact of Cold War culture is the novel, by Richard Condon, that the movie was based on.