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The Manipulator (1971)

An insane Hollywood makeup man kidnaps a woman, keeps her prisoner in his warehouse full of props.


Yabo Yablonsky


John Durren (idea), Yabo Yablonsky (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Mickey Rooney ... B.J. Lang
Luana Anders ... Carlotta
Keenan Wynn ... Old Charlie


An insane Hollywood makeup man kidnaps a woman, keeps her prisoner in his warehouse full of props.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Man of Madness...A Room of Terror! See more »




R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

15 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

B.J. Presents See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (DeLuxe)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Charlie dies with his hands to his sides and this is how he's always shown, except in one shot where his fingers are interlocked across his chest. See more »

Crazy Credits

After the closing credits Mickey Rooney is shown in fast forward acting around on stage. See more »


Referenced in Remote Control (1988) See more »


Chattanooga Choo Choo
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Sung by Mickey Rooney
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Rooney Performance in an Awful Film
10 October 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Manipulator (1971)

* (out of 4)

B.J. Lang (Mickey Rooney) is a former make-up man who has finally snapped. He kidnaps actress Carlotta (Luana Anders) and holds her hostage so that she can view his bizarre rants and attempts at acting.

THE MANIPULATOR is a really, really awful movie. There are countless awful things about it and in fact there are so many that I'm really shocked that the movie isn't better known by the Bad Cinema Crowd. When I say this film is awful it's probably an understatement because this is mind-numbing bad at times but I must also admit that there's one terrific thing in the film and that's Rooney. He gives such a wonderful performance here that it's really rather sad that it's lost in such a bad movie.

If you go through Rooney's career then you know that he had a major dry spot in it and there's no question that the 1970s really weren't a great decade for the once "A" list actor. He was taking various roles for the money and quite often he would appear in films that paid for a day's work. That's not the case here because he's clearly the star and there's not a frame of the film that doesn't have him in it. This character is truly a crazy, raving and rating nut that gives the actor a great chance to show his range and he does a terrific job with it. It's really a tour-de-force performance that has the actor showing off a variety of ranges and he nails them. Anders is also decent in her role as is Keenan Wynn in his brief part.

With that said, all of the performances are wasted in this horrid mess of a movie. For starters, the direction by Yabo Yablonsky is among the very worst that you're ever going to see because there's absolutely no style here. In fact, there's no comedy, there's no drama, there's no suspense and there's really nothing at all. This is about as ugly and as flat of a movie that you're ever going to see and even the greatness of Rooney's performance pretty much gets sucked dry of any major power because of how poorly it's filmed. Even worse is the fact that the story just never makes a bit of sense as there's nothing going on but rants and performances.

THE MANIPULATOR is a film that should be better seen and known. By those who enjoy bad movies.

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