What I love about screen tests is that you're seeing raw footage. Without background music and affects, the purity of the acting resonates. While all these enhancements are supposed to enrich a film, I've seen many occasions where I thought the screen test was actually better than the finished product, just unadorned and pure.
I enjoyed the Manchurian Candidate very much. But I do feel (when watching this screen test) that what I'm experiencing is these two powerhouse actors working in their genuine element. It makes me wish that all DVD's would include screen tests in their Special Features.
Allow yourself to absorb this clip and let the creepiness of Streep's portrayal crawl under your skin. Makes me feel oogly every time I see it, which I guess means she's doing a great job. And what can you say about Liev here? How do you admire someone's strength and feel protective of their vulnerability all at the same time? It's a conflict only an artist of Liev's caliber could bring to the audience.