This film is so well known that it has been remade and there dozens of cultural references to it in the political world. In pop culture I just caught a reference to it in the new "Captain America: Civil War" film, as Tony Stark tries to talk to Steve Rogers, he asks Bucky, the Winter Soldier, to put down his weapon, and he refers to him as "Manchurian Candidate". This obvious reference to brainwashing comes up in a dramatic moment with a humorous context, and that is the way the whole film feels. It is a drama of political intrigue with assassination at it's heart, but it is filled with comic moments that make you shake your head at the audacity of the story telling and film making.
Among the oddest things in the film is the meeting between Janet Leigh and Frank Sinatra's characters on a train. The pick up lines she uses on him and the daffy way he responds to her are just so different, you wonder if they are in the same scene together, much less the same movie. Leigh's character has no reason to exist in the film at all, so maybe the dialogue was tweaked to give her character something memorable to do.
Just about everyone else who made the picture is dead, but 94 year old Angela Lansbury is still around and she graced this screening with her presence. She is an impressive figure who has a mind sharp enough to put guest interviewer Alec Baldwin to shame. She was quick to come up with names and moments that Mr. Baldwin seemed only to half remember. It's not that he did a bad job, it's just that he seemed so much less engaged than the woman 37 years his senior who still is as sharp as a tack.