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The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

The motion picture The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer, 1962) was in many respects prophetic in terms of what it has to say about the American political system and how that system might develop over the next several years. The film can be seen as rather cynical work in that it regards American politics as a game in which the public can be and is manipulated by the unscrupulous. The reason this can be done is because the public responds more to image than to reality, something that was beginning to be more evident at the time this film was produced and that has been much discussed in the years since. The film was made in 1962, placing it after the media-driven campaign of John F. Kennedy in which the candidate who did best on television was also the best-received by the public, as will be explained below. The political campaign in this film is also driven by manipulation of the media, but also by a plan involving murder, false heroism, and finally treason on a grand scale.

This film was produced at the height of the Cold War as hysteria was mounting about a potential Russian and Chinese threat, and in the film it is the Chinese threat that becomes the greatest threat, as the title indicates. The period was one of considerable tension, and the United States was at the time still awash in fear of possible nuclear attack, seen in the number of people building fall-out shelters in their basements or backyards. There was also a scientific race under way between the Soviets and the U.S. and had been at least since the launching of Sputnik, an event which showed the West that it had to hurry in order to prevent the Soviets from taking over space and raining missiles down on their enemies. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a case in which the President of the United States took a direct stand against an action by the Soviets, the action of sending missiles to Cuba. President Kennedy invoked the Monroe Doctrine and told the ...

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The Manchurian Candidate (1962). (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 12:58, May 29, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1702650.html