Manchurian Candidate Essay
The Manchurian Candidate was noted for its breakthrough in cinematography, as the scenes is shot in a creative manner that was new and different in that era. It made use of different editing techniques to piece the story seamlessly together, also there were brainwashing tactics used in capturing the mind of these soldiers. All of these techniques were applied in the creation of this historical revolutionary film.
The central concept of the film is that the son of a prominent, right-wing political family has been brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. The Manchurian Candidate was nationally released on Wednesday, October 24, 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A recent U.S. Senate report on abusive interrogation is helping fuel an ongoing debate over the utility and morality of the harsh techniques applied to terrorist suspects in U.S. custody the during the “Global War on Terror.” The contours of that debate have included questions about whether “enhanced interrogation” constituted torture; the ethics of the participation of psychiatrists and other medical personnel; and the physical and psychological effects on the prisoners themselves.
But this is not the first time in recent U.S. history that the physical and mental coercion of detainees has aroused keen public and official attention. During the Korean War, Americans heard disturbing reports of U.S. prisoners of war being “brainwashed” by their North Korean and Chinese Communist captors. Lurid journalistic accounts described insidious “Oriental” and Pavlov Ian methods capable of nothing less than the annihilation of the self. Brainwashing, according to one author, could transmogrify a man into “a living puppet—a human robot.”
Some experts within the burgeoning “human sciences” were equally alarmist in their proclamations. A Columbia University psychiatrist characterized brainwashing as the “rape of the mind,” “psychic homicide,” and “menticide.” In 1953, newly appointed Director of Central Intelligence Allan Dulles reinforced the nation’s growing moral panic with his public assertions that the Communist world was waging “brain warfare” against the West.
In fact, as declassified documents and the work of scholars like John C. Marks later revealed, the Central Intelligence Agency had been at work since the earliest days of the Cold War on psychic warfare methods of its own. Closing a supposed “mind-control gap” became an urgent national priority. Under the MKULTRA program, scientists throughout the 1950s and into the following decade used psychedelic drugs, sensory deprivation, hypnosis, and practices such as “psychic driving” on human subjects in the search for weapons to employ on the Cold War’s mental battlefields.
Also, I’d like to mention that The Manchurian Candidate highlighted several key issues that remain important even in modern politics. The biggest of these issues was propaganda and the cultivation of fear. Johnny Iselin’s accusations of communism are similar to today’s rhetorical attacks on terrorism. One modern day comparison which comes to mind is George W. Bush and his “with us or against us” mentality. The idea is in itself, entirely based in emotion, which is why I believe it to be so effective, both in the film and real life. When Iselin makes the bold claim that there are hundreds of communists operating in the American government, people are skeptical, but they are intrigued nonetheless. After some heavy revisionism with regards to the exact number, people begin to doubt his credibility. However, he has effectively planted the seed of danger and fear in their minds.
Similarly, during his presidency, Bush propagated a mentality of “fear the terrorists.” To support this, he played on fear of another September 11 attack. While there might have been some legitimacy to his arguments, he undoubtedly