There is an old saying that is generally attributed to Karl Marx. This little pearl tells us that history repeats itself. First as farce. Then as tragedy. If you were to take a look at John Frankenheimer’s taut thriller from 1962, The Manchurian Candidate, you’d certainly be hard-pressed to disagree.
So topical were its themes that Frank Sinatra bought the film rights shortly after it came out and promptly pulled it from the theaters, fearing an overzealous reaction.
Based on the best-selling novel by Richard Condon, this film concerns itself with what happens when a ‘war hero’ becomes the subject of a brainwashing regimen and finds himself in the midst of carrying out a plot to assassinate a leading candidate for the presidency of the United States. In this case, the war hero is captured and held prisoner during the Korean War. It is during this stint that he is ‘programmed’ to become an assassin and ultimately sent back to the United Staes to carry out his mission.