Most known as a singer, not everyone is aware of the magnitude Frank Sinatra had as an actor. I recall my interview with Charles Pignone, the Senior Vice President of Frank Sinatra Enterprises. Pignone told me that if Sinatra had never had the singing career, but only made movies he would have been a tremendous success.
As someone interested in hypnosis who has been self-hypnotized as well as hypnotized by others, the film The Manchurian Candidate has been mentioned in conversation a few times. Recently, I saw it for the first time. It did not disappoint.
A black and white film, The Manchurian Candidate is a suspense thriller about the son of a very powerful, elite political family who have taken control of his mind. It’s a very complicated plot and the sudden ending is something I couldn’t have predicted. It stars such legends as Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, James Gregory and Henry Silva.
I’ll confess I didn’t immediately recognize Silva, who played the role of the Chinese secret agent Chunjin. I came to learn he’ll be celebrating his 89th birthday in a few days and has had a prolific career, mostly portraying gangsters. He’s got a very unique look and has portrayed characters of a diverse number of ethnicities. Silva caught my attention and I enjoyed researching him.
You’ll remember Silva as one of the crooks in the classic Ocean’s 11 starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford. In 1977, he worked with Sinatra again in Contract on Cherry Street, which my friend the singer & actor Robert Davi also acted in. Henry Silva also provided the voice for the villain “Bane” in Batman: The Animated Series, which I thought was an impeccable series. He ended his acting career in 2001 with the remake of Ocean’s 11.
The Manchurian Candidate is a terrific film that will make you realize why Sinatra was so fond of the storyline. Furthermore, it’s a great introduction to the thespian side of Sinatra. His presence on the screen is undeniable. I got my copy on DVD from NetFlix.