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The Manchurian Candidate

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  • 1. Origins! • The Manchurian Candidate (1959), by Richard Condon, is a political thriller novel about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist Party.
  • 2. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  • 3. 1962 Film – clips to analyse • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrmQU8v OGp4&feature=fvst • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_iBcXCu8 4w
  • 4. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) . • Directed by John Frankenheimer. With Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh. • The central concept of the film is that the son of a prominent, right-wing political family has been brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy…..
  • 5. “The Manchurian Candidate” 2004
  • 6. Modern Film – clips to analyse. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR8WYO9 Lj9g • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qub35DM B63E • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMJ0qL37SE
  • 7. The Manchurian Candidate (2004) Directed by Jonathan Demme. With: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep, Kimberly Elise. In the midst of the Gulf War, soldiers are kidnapped and ...
  • 8. Opening Scene • The later film sets the initial battle in Kuwait – making it much more appropriate and immediate for the audience. • The flashback to the initial battle is far more sophisticated than the original.
  • 9. Opening scenes • Instead of the leading actors on a fake grassy mound in a film studio (original film) the modern film has a more realistic battle. CGI means that: • We have explosions • Night vision – making the attack seem believable.
  • 10. Production Values have increased. • The modern film: • Floods the screen with red in the ‘flashback’ scene – blood and the subconscious mind. • Has non-diegetic music that sounds like blood pumping around the brain in the flashback scene. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cDavZFK opc
  • 11. Production Values have increased. • The brainwashing scenes are very different. • Older version – sitting on chairs as editing switches from Communist soldiers to ladies tea party to demonstrate hypnosis. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkP_eYtrF 6I • Modern version- graphic and slightly horrific scenes of brain implants, drills etc.
  • 12. Racism • The older version was full of racial stereotypes. • Eg - Mysterious and dangerous men from the east! Asian servant. Token black soldier. • Modern version – black protagonist. Multi racial society.
  • 13. Production Values • The older version had the press in one room – simple and relatively cheap. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5xpNBskm0 • The modern version spliced real footage from Party Conventions – created a much more realistic feel. • The modern version imitated real news programmes – like Fox News.
  • 14. Paranoid Thriller • One main (the resourceful hero) man (Major Ben Marco) trying to regain and unravel his sanity. • Representation is a ‘hard / masculine man’ who has the respect of other men. He is accustomed to danger and has a brave history in the army. • How are the leading characters different? • Think about the language they use – eg ‘Broads’ for women.
  • 15. The Manchurian Candidate 1962 and 2004 • Utilizes a range of genres: psychological thriller, paranoid thriller and political thriller. • Both films refer to social and historical context and of tension and threat. • Communism • The power of Global companies / threat to democracy.
  • 16. Purpose • Think about the purpose of the films; were they made just to entertain? • Are / were they making a serious point? • Joe McCarthy – communist witch hunt!
  • 17. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 • Do you agree with this statement? • ‘The Director elaborates and makes the film bigger than life: sadder, darker and stranger than real life.’
  • 18. 1959 Version • Raymond jumps in the lake – after hearing a person say this in the bar. • Notice how the inharmonious and discordant soundtrack as he walks to the lake echoes and parallels his confused and troubled state of mind.
  • 19. The Manchurian Candidate 1962 and 2004 • Who is portrayed as having power within the film? In the original? New version? • Who is the enemy? • Manipulation of the human mind. • How far can this be extended to our reality? • Terrorism – suicide bombers etc.
  • 20. Key Scenes 1. Murder of Senator Jordan • Modern film differs from the original. Drowning in the water creates a dream like state by the remote lake. • Director said he wanted the scene to symbolize the fact the main characters were drowning.
  • 21. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 • The fog represents the lack of clarity with the characters as they experience information overload and their dreams are ambivalent. • Use of non-diegetic music enhances the tension as Raymond approaches the lake to kill his next victim; this is key to the thriller genre. • Simplicity in editing and close up camera shots reflects Raymond’s hypnotic state.
  • 22. 2. Marco shoots Raymond and Eleanor: Final scene • The film’s climax comes to a head when Raymond realises his soul is corrupted, therefore he decides to sacrifice himself and his mother to eliminate the possibility of becoming owned and operated. • Undercurrent of Greek myth with inappropriate relationship between Raymond and Eleanor. Oedipus Rex.
  • 23. Star Power • In the modern film, Raymond’s mother has a far larger role. • Is this because Meryl Street is an A list star and will sell tickets? • In the old film Frank Sinatra was the star. The new film has two – Washington and Streep.
  • 24. Angela Lantsbury • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCjBOZ4r9 Ck&feature=fvsr
  • 25. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 • Prominent picture of Mount Rushmore on the backdrop in final scene. Invites viewers to ask questions about past / present leaders and corruption.
  • 26. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 The film poses the question ‘what if? Remember the serious message. Not just entertainment! The film can be viewed as a reflection of who we are and what society could / has become. It says don’t accept everything you see!
  • 27. Censored! • In the novel, Mrs. Iselin uses her son's brainwashing to have sex with him before the climax. Concerned that censors would not allow even a reference to such a taboo subject in a mainstream motion picture of the time, the filmmakers instead opted for Mrs. Iselin to simply kiss Raymond on the lips to imply her incestuous attraction to him.
  • 28. Your Preference • Which version did you prefer? • Why? • How do these films differ from other thrillers we have seen?
  • 29. Postscript. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTiONdJJR cw&feature=bf_prev&list=PL0D1CBF3E7A26C 2FC

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