"Director John Frankenheimer knows the smash re-release [in 1988] of his 1962 political thriller, The Manchurian Candidate, marks nothing less than his career rebirth. Frankenheimer was 32 when he filmed Candidate, starring Laurence Harvey as a sniper brainwashed by Communist agents to assassinate a presidential candidate and Frank Sinatra as the army buddy who tries to stop him. He couldn't know then that his film, based on Richard Condon's 1959 novel, would prove prophetic. Just one year later, JFK was assassinated, and Frankenheimer found himself at the center of a fierce controversy. ''The gist of the questions I got was, Did I feel responsible for the President being killed? My answer was, Of course not. It had nothing to do with movies.'' Others felt differently. Sinatra, who co-owned release rights to the film, was devastated. (He had reporte dly prevailed on his friend Jack Kennedy to intercede with United Artists chairman Arthur Krim to get the picture made. JFK told Krim that the story would make ''a good thriller.'') Except for a few TV airings, the film sat on the shelf for a quarter of a century. Frankenheimer continued to work steadily, but his career since then has been erratic. His personal life, complicated by heavy drinking and, later, by the assassination of his friend Robert Kennedy, left him ''disjointed, unfocused. I sort of had a nervous breakdown.'' Now, at 58, Frankenheimer feels vindicated as Candidate is being hailed as ''a dark masterpiece,'' a film ahead of its time. ''The accolades usually come when you're dead or too old to get a job,'' he says. He has Sinatra to thank for once again being in demand. At Sinatra's insistence, the film was reissued to promote its upcoming release on video. The plan worked better than he thought. Candidate has been so profitable in theaters that the home video version has been put on hold. Frankenheimer is currently on location in Calgary, Alta., where he is directing Don (Miami Vice) Johnson in an action film called Dead-Bang. Says the New York-born director: ''Success seems to be coming back, better than ever.'' Still, some of the memories Candidate evokes cause him pain.
from "Director John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate Plays to a Full House after 26 Years." by Fred Bernstein, People Weekly, May 16, 1988, p.129.