The Manchurian Candidate Analysis

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The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 Cold War thriller, which concerns a former prisoner of war who is brainwashed into to being an unwitting assassin for an international Communist party and ordered to kill a Presidential candidate. The film highlights recurring issues and threats that occurred throughout the 1950s, including McCarthyism and corrupt politicians. In addition, it displayed the emerging role and importance of television in broadcasting public affairs and shaping opinions based on different biases. The movies plot is rather complex, but it goes like this: Staff Sergeant Raymond Shaw, portrayed by Laurence Harvey, is one of only 77 U.S. military men who arrives from the Korean War and is awarded with a Congressional Medal of Honor. However, Raymond’s controlling mother, Eleanor Iselin, whom he loathes, wants to capitalize on Raymond’s name in order to ensure the election of her husband/Raymond’s step-father, Senator Johnny Iselin. Despite Johnny’s idiotic character he has managed to gather a large crowd of followers based on his claims that communists have infiltrated the government- his character is meant to reflect Senator McCarthy. After the war,…show more content…
It was a time of tense political paranoia, in which it was believed that communist had infiltrated the U.S. government and were now programing terrorist techniques. With that being said, the film initially failed because its plot was considered too “far-fetched” for the time period in which it was released- the early 1960s. However, its importance as pseudo-documentary was emphasized when it was withdrawn from movie theater, one year later, after the death of President Kennedy. It was initially believed that JFK was gunned down by a military trained brainwashed assassin and whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald was inspired by the film is still open to discussion. This emphasized the film’s dark, surrealistic, and cynical
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