The Manchurian Candidate, based on the novel by Richard Condon, screenplay by George Axelrod
The original material is extraordinary – and reviewed here: http://realini.blogspot.ro/2017/10/the-manchurian-candidate-by-richard.html - and stunningly relevant for a world that is lead – the civilized part- by a man who has been helped by the Russians, criticizes all and sundry – Meryl Streep, Barack Obama, Amazon, challenged people, women, war heroes like John McCain- and yet never finds a critical word for the enemy of America, the archetypal despot…Vladimir Putin.
In other words, we now have the Ultimate Manchurian Candidate in power, ready to play some of the games described in the film.
Raymond Shaw – played by an excellent actor, who is nevertheless awkward in a good number of scenes – Laurence Harvey- is the hero of this narrative that has all the elements of an excellent drama, spy story, thriller and science fiction film.
Major Bennett Marco portrayed by Frank Sinatra- a famous singer with an outstanding career as an actor, perhaps especially after the intervention of a Mafia Godfather, not unlike the infamous one in the Godfather motion picture, where the head of a horse is used to convince a director to include a performer in his upcoming feature.
Major Marco and Raymond Shaw are the protagonists of the first scenes of The Manchurian Candidate, where they first break the party of a few combatants, enjoying their spare time off the front line, and then they see action behind enemy lines, where Chunjin- another key player in this narrative guides them.
Behind north Korean lines, a trap is set for them, into which the double agent Chunjin took them, pretending there is no other way and against the tactical procedures they all have to get in a single file, and Soviet and Chinese operatives take to special facilities where they are introduced into a special program.
This where the motion picture has elements of science fiction, for an advanced technique of hypnosis, psychological nudging and influence are used with drugs that make the American soldiers obey in a trance their enemies and repeat a fabricated story when they return.
Raymond Shaw is selected for further duty in the service of his new masters, the Soviets and Chinese, and he is tested to see if the theory works in practice and he is told to kill first one and then another of his comrades, with a scarf and a pistol respectively.
Nevertheless, when they return to their own troops, all the survivors- that is all, with the exception of the couple killed by the protagonist- all the soldiers have the same story, inculcated by the enemy, which has Raymond Shaw as a war hero, fighting single handedly and saving his comrades in arms from the superior forces- a battalion, no less.
Therefore, Raymond Shaw is awarded the Medal of Honor, a very special honor bestowed on very few, extremely brave combatants, and his mother, the evil Eleanor Shaw Iselin aka Angela Lansbury wants to use it to benefit the career of her husband and step father for her son, senator John Iselin, prepared by dark forces to play the role assigned to…Trump in 2016.
Like the Donald, John Iselin is an idiot, repeating the same nonsense, speeches and figures that keep changing – this should ring a bell if we think of the continuous and ridiculous tweets of the phony leader who grabs pussy- prepared by the real masterminds, the Russians and his maleficent wife, pressing on the issue of the…Communist presence in the Defense Department, the usual case of the thief crying thief.
Major Ben Marco has dreams in which the horrible truth is revealed, the whole episode of the enemy capture, the brain washing and the killing of two Americans and this is confirmed by the nightmares of another participant in the Russian- Chinese operation and the strange behavior of Raymond Shaw, who had not been liked by anyone prior to the trap, except for Jocelyn Jordan, in love with the protagonist.
Alas, Jocelyn and her father Senator Thomas Jordan- a fierce political opponent of Iselin and his wife- fall victim to this Russian spying game, wherein they control their pawn on the chess board, using the cue of a solitaire card game and giving him orders through operatives they have in America.
Chunjin is also sent to the United states to become the servant of the War Hero and supervise, spy on his actions while there, and the first assignment they give Shaw is to kill his employer at the newspaper, an order which with hindsight seems to have been a very serious blunder- but hey, the soviets are known to have made serious mistakes, their whole system proved to be just a huge failure.
Major Ben Marco is trying hard, but with the limited means of the time- and the technique that did not give access nonstop to the GPS position, the tweets, Facebook posts and all the rest of the paraphernalia – which seems so flimsy, they did not even mobilize serious resources to follow the suspected agent of the Russians.
It is true though that they did not have enough evidence, referring only to dreams, strange behavior and the awkward events taking place behind enemy lines are not sufficient for a solid case, and yet, given the gravity of the situation, more actions seemed to have been indicated.
Given that Senator Thomas Jordan is not just refusing to cooperate with the villainous Eleanor Iselin and accept the nomination as the second man on their party’s ticket of John Iselin, but he wants to support a move to ban this dangerous, limited, fanatical creature, Raymond Shaw is again conditioned with the cards and the order to kill the man.
The climax of the motion picture takes place in the last few minutes, with an ever increasing tension, the uncertainty of the stand that Shaw would take, if Major Marco will be able to prevent his actions and what will happen to the nominees for the job of President of the United States…nowadays they use fake ads and news to get their man where they want him…senator Iselin suffered an alien like transmutation and became…the orange Donald.