Sunday, August 20, 2017

#17 Case of the Missing Manchurian Candidate

Last night, TCM showed The Manchurian Candidate.

Sometimes, the events of the world need to swirl into focus for a piece of art/writing/movie to resonate with you. Or to become resonant again.  (I'm a big fan of Henry David Thoreau and his Civil Disobedience is cycling back again into public discourse).

The plot of the 1962 movie has to do with soldiers in Korea who get captured and get brainwashed.  One ends up being a killer who performs on command without conscience.  Frank Sinatra is the hero, Angela Lansbury is the evil "queen".  At one point Frank also mentions "All the King's Horses", but alas-does not break into the song.

A throwaway piece of the plot involves the bad guys checking on the power of the hypnotism.  They essentially kidnap him and offer a cover story to the papers, having him the victim of a hit and run.  The "hospital" they keep him in is a cover.  It's a building for rich alcoholics, but 3 floors of it are reserved for their Communist conspiracies.  A FAKE hospital.

This aside is what they base the whole episode on.  Hospitals can be fake, doctors can be fake. Hypnotism is real.  Evil Communist forces may or may not be real, but they can ultimately be foiled.

The more powerful part of the movie itself has to do with the manipulations of the presidential nomination.  Right before JFK was literally caught in the crosshairs.  And decades before the idea that Russia had anything to do with the 2016 election.  Whatever side you are on, watch the movie and see what other items this particular movie may have suggested to the public imagination.

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