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1932, Universal, 78 min, USA, Dir: Tay Garnett

A hugely popular radio personality (Lew Ayres), clearly based on the legendary Walter Winchell, uses his influence to manipulate both sides of the law while investigating a kidnapping that leads all the way to the White House. A wildly entertaining pre-Code exposé on the greasy relationship between politicians, organized crime and the burgeoning American media. Screenplay by William Anthony McGuire. Directed by Tay Garnett. NOT ON DVD

1954, Lobster Films, 86 min, USA, Dir: Lewis Allen

In this tense thriller, Hayden plays a small-town sheriff confronting a trio of paid killers bent on assassinating the vacationing president of the United States. Frank Sinatra is electrifying as the boss bad guy; the actor-singer tried to buy up all copies of this film after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Lewis Allen provides his strongest directing effort for Richard Sale’s taut, suspenseful script.

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.

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