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Book Vs Movie

The Manchurian Candidate”

The Richard Condon Novel Vs. the 1962 John Frankenheimer Cult Classic

The Margos have a thing for espionage and intrigue in this ep talking about the Richard Condon 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate which was bought by Frank Sinatra and United Artists films and made into a controversial movie in 1962. Detailing the life of former infantrymen who are brainwashed by the Soviet Union while captured in the Korean War and who later aim to overthrow the United States via a presidential election–it was considered a classic “bad book” by Time magazine (which meant it as a compliment) and seems prescient considering what is happening in politics today.

The story of Major Bennett Marco and Sergeant Raymond Shaw and their recurring nightmares over what they experienced makes up the rest of the book. In short, Shaw can become an assassin when given a “posthypnotic trigger” and his mother is married to Senator Johnny Iselin. She and Ray have an incestual relationship and she is working with the Communists to get her husband elected president.

The movie stars Sinatra as Marco and was directed by John Frankenheimer to little excitement in 1962 (go figure!) One year later President Kennedy was assassinated and the film was pulled from the public with fears it influenced Lee Harvey Oswald who was known to be a regular movie-goer.

The Margos discuss the book and the movie and decide which we like better. (Spoiler–it’s not even close here!) Check out the link below to listen to the episode.

In this ep the Margos discuss:

    • The backstory about the author Richard Condon who went from Hollywood publicist to bestselling author
    • How the brainwashing theme was new in the late 1950s when it was introduced here.
    • The charges of plagiarism that came out years after he died.
    • How Sinatra helped put together a masterpiece of a film by working a short day (Frank never showed up before 11 am on a set!)
    • Why the film was considered so controversial, it was not considered a classic until a 1987 re-release.

Clips Featured:

    • “I Wanted a Killer” (Angela Lansbury & Laurence Harvey)
    • “52 Red Queens” (Frank Sinatra & Laurence Harvey)
    • “The Killing of Senator Jordan and Jocie” (Laurence Harvey, John McGiver, and Leslie Parrish”
    • “Meeting Rosie on a train” (Frank Sinatra & Janet Leigh)
    • “The Assassination scene” (Frank Sinatra & Laurence Harvey)
    • “The Garden Club Scene”

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Margo D. @BrooklynFitChik [email protected]

Margo P. @ShesNachoMama 

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