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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by John Frankenheimer
USA 1962

A reluctant director, Frankenheimer has created some of the American cinemas true hidden gems, The Manchurian Candidate being his jewel in the crown. His ability to express his political and philosophic views throughout his films has become renowned. The Manchurian Candidate was hidden for over 20 years after its initial release at Frank Sinatra's enforcement following the assassination of president John F. Kennedy.

 

Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey ), returns home from the Korean War and as a hero is presented with the Medal of Valor in Washington. His domineering mother (Angela Lansbury) and Stepfather Senator Iselin (James Gregory) wrestle to grab as much positive political coverage out of his heroics and name as possible. Major Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) and others who served alongside him remember Shaw differently, however, in duplicated nightmares as a killer brainwashed by Dr Yen Lo, an evil hypnotist from Communist China (Khigh Dhiegh) with Russian top political brass looking on in an amphitheatre. Shaw's mother, Mrs. Iselin, playing a Joseph McCarthy representation, is revealed to be a calculating Communist Agent and her maneuvering is meant to position her husband to the presidency through assassination, with her son being the mentally manipulated hired gun.

 

NOTE: Sinatra made two films with a plot revolving around a Presidential assassination (the other being Suddenly), but Suddenly became infamous when it was learned Lee Harvey Oswald had watched the film just a few days before he shot President Kennedy. After learning of this, Sinatra had the prints of Suddenly and The Manchurian Candidate removed from circulation.

Posters

Theatrical Release: Oct. 24th, 1962

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Comparison:

MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Arrow Films - Region 'B' - Blu-ray vs. Criterion (4K restoration) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Enrique B Chamorro for all the DVD Screen Caps!

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP LEFT

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP MIDDLE

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP RIGHT

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM LEFT

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM MIDDLE

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

  

  

 

  

  

  

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC

  

 

MGM
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

Arrow Video

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 Criterion Collection - Spine #803 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
Runtime 2:06:20 2:06:20 2:06:16 2:06:32.042 2:06:30.457 2:06:56.400 
Video

1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.13 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 4.10 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.75:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.62 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 42,783,545,550 bytes

Feature Size: 40,297,746,432 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size:46,479,865,842 bytes

Feature Size: 37,330,148,928 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

Disc Size:47,338,973,824 bytes

Feature Size: 37,387,290,624 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

MGM (Old FF)

 

Bitrate:

MGM (Old WS)

 

Bitrate:

MGM (New WS)

 

Bitrate:

MGM Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

Masters of Cinema Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:  Criterion

Blu-ray

 

Audio English, French, Spanish DD 1.0

English, French, Spanish DD 1.0

English DD 5.1 & 1.0, Spanish DD 1.0

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3020 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3020 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -2dB

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, French, Spanish, none English, French, Spanish, none English, French, Spanish, none English (SDH), French, Spanish, none English (SDH), none English (SDH), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• VOB file dates: 02/20/98
• Static Menus
• 8 page booklet
• Comm. by dir. Frankenheimer
• 1988 video interview with Frankenheimer, Sinatra, & Axelrod
• Original theatrical trailer

DVD Release Date: 03/24/98
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterboxed - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• VOB file dates: 02/20/98
• Static Menus
• 8 page booklet
• Comm. by dir. Frankenheimer
• 1988 video interview with Frankenheimer, Sinatra, & Axelrod
• Original theatrical trailer

 

DVD Release Date: 03/24/98
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.75:1

Edition Details:
• VOB file dates: 04/27/04
• Animated Menus
• 8 page booklet (same text, new layout / photos)
• Same commentary track
• Same 1988 video interview 7:47
• Same original theatrical trailer 1:01
• Queen of Diamonds - Angela Lansbury interview 14:48
• A Little Solitaire - William Friedkin interview 13:15
• Photo Gallery - 57 stills
• MGM Great Movies trailers 1:12
• MGM Academy Awards Winners trailers 1:16
• Easter Egg - William Friedkin clip 0:25
• Easter Egg Angela Lansbury clip 1:06

 

DVD Release Date: 07/13/04
Plastic Keepcase

Chapters 36

Release Information:
Studio: MGM

 

Disc Size: 42,783,545,550 bytes

Feature Size: 40,297,746,432 bytes

Total Bitrate: 35.98 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary track
• Same 1988 video interview 7:47
• Same original theatrical trailer 1:01
• Queen of Diamonds - Angela Lansbury interview 14:48
• A Little Solitaire - William Friedkin interview 13:15

 

Blu-ray Release Date: May 10th, 2011
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 36

 

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow

 

1.78:1 Disc Size:46,479,865,842 bytes

Feature Size: 37,330,148,928 bytes

Total Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:
Audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer
The Directors: John Frankenheimer, an hour-long portrait from 2003, including interviews with Frankenheimer, Kirk Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Roy Scheider, Rod Steiger and many others (58:32)
Interview with John Frankenheimer, Frank Sinatra and screenwriter George Axelrod from the film s 1988 revival (7:48)
Queen of Diamonds: an interview with Angela Lansbury (14:51)
A Little Solitaire: an appreciation of the film by director William Friedkin (The Exorcist) (13:18)
Theatrical trailer (1:56)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
Collector s booklet containing new writing by Peter Knight (Conspiracy Culture) and Neil Sanders (Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own), illustrated with original production stills
 

Blu-ray Release Date: February 23rd, 2015
Transparent Blu-ray case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:

1.75:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 49,281,254,594 bytes

Feature: 30,709,309,440 bytes bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.42 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary from 1997 featuring director John Frankenheimer
• New interview with actor Angela Lansbury (10:48)
• New piece featuring filmmaker Errol Morris discussing his appreciation for The Manchurian Candidate (16:33)
• Conversation between Frankenheimer, screenwriter George Axelrod, and actor Frank Sinatra from 1987 (7:50)
• New interview with historian Susan Carruthers about the Cold War brainwashing scare (20:51)
• Trailer (1:52)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 15th, 2016
Transparent Keep case

Chapter: 20

 

 

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Criterion (4K Digital Restoration) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray February 16': Okay, well I missed this first time and have added some comments to the Arrow review. This, again, is why I value comparative analysis. I appreciate when their are differences - the less-subtle the better. The brittleness and possible edge-enhancement are more prominent on the Arrow when you toggle between it and the new Criterion (4K digital restoration). I will guess it is either a different source or there has been some black-level boosting on the UK Blu-ray (or both) cited as being from MGM's original elements. It's not flagrant - I've tried to show it in a screen grab - but, I think, you will see it when toggling between it and the Criterion via the full resolution captures. If existing - it is minor. I have only done six comparison captures for the Criterion - because I think that tells enough of the story here. The captures that I am certain are exact frame matches with the Arrow are the helicopter, on the train with Janet Leigh, and probably the Angela Lansbury / Queen Diamonds one (hard to do 'exact' as the framing is slightly different). The technicals are pretty much the same between all three Blu-rays - dual-layered - very high bitrate - AVC. The Criterion shows the most at the bottom and left edges of the frame - and often the right edge as well. The Criterion is an accurate 1.75:1 and the Arrow 1.78:1. The Arrow has richer, darker black levels and more (fabricated?) grain. I really liked how the Arrow looked on my 60" Plasma but I think the Criterion is the most accurate - in fact, I'm pretty sure of it after an extensive analysis on my own system. But I am just one man - and that is my opinion - you may differ. I always think it's great to have a choice (why we encourage region-freedom). You can easily see that it's more passive, contrast-wise but I can assure you the Criterion 4K restoration presentation is an excellent one - at their usual lofty standards.

Like Arrow, Criterion respectfully for-go the surround bump for a more authentic linear PCM monaural track.  The score by David Amram (The Young Savages, The Arrangement) sounds flat but with some depth - exceptionally moody. I've always liked the score but appreciate more each viewing. I was able to distinguish no difference from the, also uncompressed, Arrow audio. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles - which I am still not able to capture in a still - on the region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Criterion add the audio commentary from 1997 featuring director John Frankenheimer plus the, 8-minute, 87', conversation between Frankenheimer, screenwriter George Axelrod, and actor Frank Sinatra reunited for the first time since making the production. But there are some new supplements as well. We can see a new 11-minute interview with actor Angela Lansbury conducted by Criterion in November 2015 (NY) and a new 16-minute piece featuring filmmaker Errol Morris discussing his appreciation for The Manchurian Candidate. I enjoyed this as I like Morris and so greatly respect his opinions. There is also an educational new, 21-minute, interview with historian Susan Carruthers about the Cold War brainwashing scare. She has some great information and is the author of Cold War Captives: Imprisonment, Escape, and Brainwashing. There is also a trailer. I only have the screener disc and can't see details of a liner notes booklet on the Criterion website (at present) but suspect there is one and those details are forthcoming.

As you may have anticipated - the Criterion is a wonderful Blu-ray package of another important film - the director Frankenheimer's most notable. Doubling up from the Arrow is a personal decision but region 'A'-locked audiences shouldn't hesitate - a very strong recommendation!

***

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray February 15': The Arrow 1080P image is superior - it is smoother (less clunky background) and supports the grain structure to a higher degree. The Arrow also shows more information in the frame - notable on the side edges but still less than the SE DVD?! Contrast and technical specs are about the same but overall the Arrow is a shade thin and possibly has had some black-level boosting. I don't know how this would effect individuals - it would depend on how discerning you are or your system.

Arrow use a linear PCM monaural track.  The score by David Amram (The Young Savages, The Arrangement) sounds flat but with some depth - exceptionally moody. There are optional English subtitles on the region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Arrow include the same audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer as found on many of the other, past, digital releases - as well as the 15-minute Queen of Diamonds interview with Angela Lansbury, the slightly shorter A Little Solitaire appreciation of the film by director William Friedkin and a trailer. Arrows stack further with the hour-long The Directors: John Frankenheimer portrait from 2003, including interviews with Frankenheimer, Kirk Douglas, Samuel L. Jackson, Roy Scheider, Rod Steiger and many others plus an 8-minute interview with John Frankenheimer, Frank Sinatra and screenwriter George Axelrod from the film's 1988 revival. The package has a DVD odf the feature and a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw plus a collector's booklet containing new writing by Peter Knight (Conspiracy Culture) and Neil Sanders (Your Thoughts Are Not Your Own), illustrated with original production stills.

Arrow wins with the authentic audio and more extras. It is the best digital package, at present (probably until Criterion comes along), for this monumental film experience. A strong recommendation! 

***

ADDITION: MGM Blu-ray May 11': Another dual-layered Blu-ray from MGM. The Manchurian Candidate has always looked a little murky but this is a significant improvement over the DVDs at almost 7 times the bitrate but the visuals are far from pristine. It betters the best SD in most areas - with some improvement in detail and another notch up in contrast (a shade brighter). In-motion this is almost a revelation and hopefully the screen captures will indicate as much to you although it is imperfect.

Audio stays with the bump in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at an abundantly strong 3020 kbps 5.1. There isn't a lot of aggressive audio in The Manchurian Candidate but the track extracts whatever there is and separation is a bit fumble-ly but when you hear a crisp effect out of the rears it tends to make up for it. There is a surprising crispness over the DVDs.

The same subtitle options and extras exist - commentary, Sinatra / Lansbury /Friedkin etc. interviews. This classic looks and sounds only better in 1080P and I'm a big fan of The Manchurian Candidate.

***

ON THE DVDs: The new SE DVD is sharper, brighter and has superior contrast. It's interesting to see what you were missing from the 'Full-frame' side of the initial DVD (zoomed in). Where the old edition showed some film grain (excessive), the new one SE can seem somewhat flattened. Certainly there are better black and white transfers out there. I suspect the old version as having some contrast boosting as the brightness can appear quite uneven throughout a viewing. It is also very dull with a brown/sepia sheen over the image. The new SE has both the original audio and a boosted 5.1 track that can make the world of difference in certain scenes (for non-purists), but mostly the film is dialogue driven. The director commentary is the same as in the initial DVD offering, so is a 'reunion' interview with screenwriter George Axelrod, director John Frankenheimer and Frank Sinatra for the initial 1988 release (Sinatra purchased the rights and kept the film theatrically buried for over 25 years). Two new featurettes include an interview with Angela Lansbury and another with director William Friedkin (director of 'The Exorcist'). There is also a trailer (same as old), a photo gallery and a couple of 'easter eggs'. Not too hard a choice at all - new SE for sure.

 - Gary Tooze

 


Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

DVD Menus

(MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Screen Captures

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

Is this minor EE on the Arrow?

 

 


1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM (Old FF) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) MGM (Old WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) MGM (New WS) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) MGM - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-rays

Extras: Arrow Blu-ray

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

  

  

 

  

  

  

Distribution

MGM

Region 1 - NTSC

MGM
Region 1 - NTSC
MGM
Region 1 - NTSC

  

MGM
Region FREE -
Blu-ray

Arrow Video

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 Criterion Collection - Spine #803 - Region 'A' Blu-ray
 



 

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Gary Tooze

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