George Axelrod (screenplay, based on a novel by Richard Condon), John Frankenheimer
(director) The Manchurian Candidate / 1962
Other than the Visconti film I discuss later in this volume, few films reflect the theme of this year’s volume, “love, death, and transfiguration,” more fully than John Frankenheimer’s 1962 film, The Manchurian Candidate. Frankenheimer, who died on July 6th of this year, described the work as being centered around what he described as “double images.”And indeed, the film contains a good many of these, which I would prefer, however, to speak of as “mirror images,” images that, while revealing one reality also suggest or show its reverse, what might be perceived as the darker side of what the surface presents.
in 1952, as the men, against army strategy, marched along a path in single file. And we gradually discover that the “loveable Raymond Shaw”—as one of his fellow men sarcastically describes him—is not even a hero, but was brainwashed along with his fellow men, forced to strangle fellow-soldier Ed Mavole, shoot their young “mascot,” Bobby Lembeck, and programmed to do the biddings of his handlers, foes of the American government.
Los Angeles, August 19, 2002