The Manchurian Candidate


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The Manchurian Candidate

  1. 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. 2. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
  3. 3. 1962 Film – clips to analyse • OGp4&feature=fvst • 4w
  4. 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. 5. “The Manchurian Candidate” 2004
  6. 6. Modern Film – clips to analyse. • Lj9g • B63E •
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. • opc
  11. 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. • 6I • Modern version- graphic and slightly horrific scenes of brain implants, drills etc.
  12. 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. 13. Production Values • The older version had the press in one room – simple and relatively cheap. • • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 24. Angela Lantsbury • Ck&feature=fvsr
  25. 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. 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. 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. 28. Your Preference • Which version did you prefer? • Why? • How do these films differ from other thrillers we have seen?
  29. 29. Postscript. • cw&feature=bf_prev&list=PL0D1CBF3E7A26C 2FC