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THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
1962, Park Circus, 126 min, USA, Dir: John Frankenheimer

"Why don't you pass the time by playing a little solitaire?" Former POW Frank Sinatra tries to connect the dots when decorated comrade Laurence Harvey starts acting strangely, only to have a nightmarish labyrinth unravel in his lap. Korean War brainwashing, Harvey’s rich control-freak mother (Angela Lansbury), her right-wing candidate hubby (James Gregory in a savage parody of Sen. Joseph McCarthy) and an assassination plot mesh in John Frankenheimer's masterfully woozy adaptation of Richard Condon’s satirical thriller. With Janet Leigh.


BLUE HAWAII
1961, Paramount, 101 min, Dir: Norman Taurog

Before all the formula ‘60s movies that turned Elvis Presley from an icon into a self-parody, there was this sparkling original that subsequent filmmakers sought to use as the cookie-cutter guarantee to Presley movie success. Sumptuous cinematography, frothy plot, pleasing comic turns, skillful acting from co-stars Angela Lansbury and Joan Blackman, and songs as enchanting as the island paradise all aim to please. From “Rock-A-Hula Baby” to “Can't Help Falling In Love” and the title song - this is classic Elvis 2.0, post-army and pre-rhinestone. The movie and the soundtrack were among the most successful of his career.


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