Trivia / The Manchurian Candidate

  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Billing Displacement: Janet Leigh over Angela Lansbury, who plays a much more important role.
  • Fake American: Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey, who are both British.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The original film was rarely available in the years inbetween its initial 1962 release and its 1988 reissue. This has led to rumors that Frank Sinatra had the film pulled from distribution after the Kennedy assassination. In reality, the film's shelving was more to do with studio politics than regular politics. When the film bombed at the box office, United Artists reneged on a deal that kept Sinatra out of any royalties. When the rights reverted to Sinatra in 1972, his lawyers, angry that their client was screwed over, had the film supressed and pretended it never existed. The only explanation as to why the film was re-released was because Sinatra had new lawyers.
  • Plagiarism: It turns out Condon plagiarized several passages from Robert Graves' I, Claudius. This went unnoticed until a few years after Condon's death when a California software engineer started noticing the similarities, and even then it wasn't until a few years later still when the findings were widely published.
  • Playing Against Type: It wasn't playing against type at the time, as Lansbury had played her fair share of schemers and antagonists. But for a modern day viewer who might know her from Murder, She Wrote or Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (the latter of which came out less than a decade after The Manchurian Candidate), watching her play Mrs. Iselin could be jarring given how ruthless and un-motherly Iselin is compared to characters like Mrs. Potts.
  • Real-Life Relative: The 2004 film co-stars Pablo Schreiber, half-brother of star Liev Schreiber.
  • Throw It In!:
    • The scene where Marco tries to break Raymond's brainwashing using a deck of cards comprised totally of Queens of Diamonds is out of focus. Frank Sinatra didn't quite match the intensity of his first performance in subsequent takes, so they used the blurry one. It kind of works to represent Raymond's disorientation.
    • The fight scene where Ben punches his hand through a table is actually Frank Sinatra accidentally punching his hand through a freakin' table and breaking a finger. The injury didn't heal properly and bothered him for the rest of his life.
    • John Frankenheimer notes on the commentary that the scene where Senator Iselin argues with the Secretary of Defense was entirely ad-libbed.
  • Underage Casting: In an example where a Playing Gertrude causes this, Angela Lansbury was only three years older than the actor playing her son in the original film.
  • What Could Have Been: Sinatra originally wanted Lucille Ball to play Mrs. Iselin, until Frankenheimer suggested Angela Lansbury (whom he'd directed in his previous film, All Fall Down) instead.


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