An American soldier is captured by the North Koreans, brainwashed, and sent home as a programmed political assassin.
But what sounds like a straightforward thriller is much, much more in The Manchurian Candidate, screening on Sunday, December 2, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., as part of the Movies That Matter film series.
Introductory and closing remarks are provided by Robert W. Butler, for more than 40 years film critic of The Kansas City Star and now a member of the Library's public affairs staff.
The best film of director John Frankenheimer's long career, The Manchurian Candidate (1962) is a marvelous study in conflicting moods. Mixed in with the tension is genuine heartbreak and a wide streak of sarcasm and satire.
This black comedy about right-wing demagogues and sneaky Communist mind control is fueled by terrific performances from Lawrence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, and especially the unforgettable Angela Lansbury as a manipulative modern-day Lady Macbeth with Oedipal issues.
And the story around the film is fascinating, too. The film was out of circulation for years; many speculated that producer Sinatra was responding to the widely held belief that the movie prophesized the assassination of his friend John F. Kennedy.
Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407.
Other titles in the series:
December 9: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1939)
January 6: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
January 13: My Darling Clementine (1946)
January 27: Bringing Up Baby (1938)
February 10: All About Eve (1950)
February 25: Dr. Strangelove (1964)
March 10: The Circus (1928)
March 24: Rear Window (1954)
April 7: Wings of Desire (1987)
April 21: Singin' in the Rain (1952)
May 5: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
May 19: Metropolis (1927)