The Manchurian Candidate

New this month Question: The whole plot of this movie makes no sense. What was the purpose of having all the soldiers "brainwashed' when they just used one to carry out what they wanted? Plus, why go to the trouble of doing all this when they could have just hired an assassin? Plus, how did they know, in 1952, that this man would be chosen to be the Vice-President?

wolfman

New this month Answer: The entire platoon was brainwashed because they had to verify the fabricated story that Raymond was a "war hero." Raymond was unknowingly (by him) selected to become a sleeper agent within the U.S. government, mentally programmed to be used when needed by the Russians or Chinese. Raymond's monstrous mother, Eleanor Iselin, was married to a ruthless and ambitious U.S. Senator that she was propelling into being their party's presidential candidate. She had contacted Communists to request an assassin kill her husband's political rival so he would become the party's nominee. However, she was unaware at first that her son would be the assassin. Raymond, having been brainwashed, never realised he was a programmed assassin who would have no memory after executing his assignments. He apparently had been recruited because of his step-father's political connections. It is a rather incredible plot, to say the least.

raywest Premium member

Question: A part of this film's critical acclaim was caused by an unfocused shot, which the critics called brilliant - even though the lack of focus was an accident. What is that shot and where exactly in the movie does it appear?

Answer: The shot in question occurs when Sinatra's character, Marco, holds up a deck full of queens while trying to deprogram Raymond. On the DVD commentary track, the director, Frankenheimer, acknowleges that the scene was out of focus, and that though Sinatra supplied several other takes of the scene, the other takes weren't nearly as good, so he went with the flawed one. Later, Frankenheimer was praised by critics for the unfocused shot showing Raymond's disturbed perceptions.

Factual error: Raymond is equipped with what is described as a high-power Soviet sniper rifle. However, the rifle he uses is actually a Japanese carbine.

More mistakes in The Manchurian Candidate

Marco: It's not that Raymond Shaw is hard to like. He's impossible to like.

More quotes from The Manchurian Candidate

Trivia: Angela Lansbury plays Laurence Harvey's mother in this film, but in reality she is only three years older than him.

More trivia for The Manchurian Candidate

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.