Charade

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: Jonathan Demme remakes a political thriller — and himself

When Jonathan Demme remade THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE — airing tonight at 10P — in 2004, many people were perplexed: Why remake a film that was such a perfect time capsule of Cold War pop culture? Indeed, John Frankenheimer’s 1962 original, about a politician who has been brainwashed by the enemy, feels perfectly placed in history: It’s a film that both embraces Red Scare paranoia while satirizing McCarthyist histrionics. Demme probably felt that the post-9/11 political climate in the U.S., what with the enigmatic War on Terrorism and the controversial Patriot Act, warranted a revisitation of this premise. But the original was, in essence, a tight and effective suspense flick with political overtones — more Hitchcock than Sherwood Andersen. Demme’s politically pointed remake is darker, more modern and more despairing, with an A-List cast to match its ambitions, featuring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep.

Cary Grant at BAM, round 2

Cary Grant at BAM, round 2

Cary Grant attempts to pass as a woman in I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE.
Cray Grant lovers rejoice. There are still two more weeks to catch BAM’s second ode to Hollywood’s most charismatic leading man. I seem to remember last year’s line up featuring more of his better known films, and while this month’s screening schedule certainly hits all the high notes with films like CHARADE, NOTORIOUS, BRINGING UP BABY and AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, it also includes some of his lesser known roles, including some films not available on DVD. Take today’s screening, the off-kilter, family friendly ONCE UPON A TIME, which features Grant as a struggling theatrical producer who discovers a young orphan with a dancing caterpillar. Buyer beware, the dancing caterpillar is the crux of the entire film, and Grant delivers all the passion and drama usually devoted to more plausible plots to one little, wriggling worm he’s convinced will lift people up out of their dreary war-ridden lives.