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The Manchurian Candidate and Ideology

            The Cold War was an intricate and complex era which produced many different ideas and views on the topic. All sorts of mediums were used to express people's opinions of the conflict, and film was no exception. The Manchurian Candidate is a film that was produced in 1952, and had a very distinct message to give regarding the capitalist-communist. When compared to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Dr. Strangelove, The Manchurian Candidate has a much clearer dividing line between what is means to be a communist versus a capitalist westerner. This can be clearly seen by examining the two other films in comparison with The Manchurian Candidate.
             The Manchurian Candidate is very clearly a film about the capitalist Americans versus the communists. The Americans are shaped as the "good guys- who will triumph in the end; the very word American carries with it a positive connotation that appeals to all that is good, free, and just. Communism, however, is only referred to as an evil concept. The Manchurian Candidate is strictly a film portraying one side against the other.
             The American is shaped in several ways within the film. Marco is played by Frank Sinatra, who is all-American himself. By simply using Sinatra, and American icon, to portray the hero of the film, the American is depicted as an all-around wholesome do-gooder. Within the context of the film the character of Marco is constantly dedicated to the cause of keeping a free world which is safe from communism; this sends the message that this is what all Americans should be and are doing. Although Marco is at first given to the brainwashing by the communists, he manages to break free of its hold--this disconnection portrays the Americans as being clever enough to escape from the traps that communists are supposedly setting throughout the entire film. The warning seems to be sent that communists can corrupt even the strongest American with their devious brainwashing skills, but the "good guys- "the Americans "will prevail in the end.

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