The Manchurian Candidate

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The Manchurian Candidate, released in 1962, is an American Cold War thriller directed by John Frankenheimer. The film is about the brainwashing of the son of a communist political family as an unwitting assassin in an attempt by the Soviets to cause a communist conspiracy. Raymond Shaw is the son of Mrs. Eleanor Iselin, whose husband is the United States senator, Senator John Yerkes Iselin. Working with the Chinese and the Soviets, Mrs. Iselin is secretly part of the communist party. Eleanor however, is the one who is in charge of Senator John Yerkes Iselin’s political career and has plans to secure the presidency under Communist influence. For this to actually happen, they had to convince the citizens that communism should be feared and that it also relates to terrorism. Due to the Red Scare that was taking place during the Cold War, the audience and the citizens had a fear of paranoia. Given that the movie was filmed during the Cold War as well, this greatly expanded the communist scare even more. The politicians during the war and in the film manipulate citizens into thinking that there are communists within the United States government. This force of paranoia and communism limits human agency throughout the Cold War by brain washing, manipulation, and lying to the citizens for a means of convincing them that there are communists in their government. The Manchurian Candidate uses certain film techniques such as mise-en-scene, and cinematography that influence the audience into a force of paranoia. Raymond Shaw’s agency is limited because his mother is brainwashing him and he cannot think clearly for himself. In one scene for example, Mrs. Eleanor Iselin is brainwashing her son and tells him that he is going to shoot the presidential nominee so that hopefully communists can begin taking over the United States government. The camera angles help the audience
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