What Have They Built You to Do?: The Manchurian Candidate and Cold War Americaby Matthew Frye Jacobson, Gaspar Gonzalez
Pub. Date: 10/25/2006
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Considered by many to be the best political thriller ever made, The Manchurian Candidate is as entertaining, troubling, and relevant today as it was in 1962. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury, and directed with probing insight by John Frankenheimer, the film was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece. Largely out of circulation for the next… See more details below
Considered by many to be the best political thriller ever made, The Manchurian Candidate is as entertaining, troubling, and relevant today as it was in 1962. Starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, and Angela Lansbury, and directed with probing insight by John Frankenheimer, the film was widely acclaimed as a masterpiece. Largely out of circulation for the next two decades, it acquired a well-deserved cult following until it was rereleased during the last year of the Reagan presidency, when its pointed satire of political and media manipulation seemed more timely than ever. In What Have They Built You to Do?a key line of dialogue from the original filmMatthew Frye Jacobson and Gaspar González undertake an ambitious reexamination of The Manchurian Candidate, the 1959 novel by Richard Condon on which it was based, andcritically analyzed here for the first timethe 2004 remake directed by Jonathan Demme. Based on close readings of the film and broad investigations into the eras in which it was made and rediscovered, the authors decode the many layers of meaning within and surrounding the film, from the contradictions of the Cold War it both embodies and parodiesMcCarthyism and Kennedy liberalism, individualism and conformityto its construction of Asian villains, overbearing women, and male heroes in a society anxious about race, gender, and sexuality. Through their multifaceted analysis of The Manchurian Candidate (in all its incarnations), Jacobson and González raise provocative questions about power and anxiety in American politics and society from the Cold War to today. Matthew Frye Jacobson teaches American studies at Yale University. His books include Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in PostCivil Rights America. Gaspar González is an independent scholar and journalist in Miami. He has taught American studies at Yale University and film studies at the University of Miami.
- University of Minnesota Press
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please do not let my review side-track you from reading this book but if you are like me, i want to either read a good book or see a great movie. rarely are the twains met. rarer still is that book written i'm sure with the best of intents that over analyzes anything. know what? do one of three things: see the movie OR read condon's book OR read this somewhat interesting book but never, ever combine the three . if you do you'll be suffering from excedrin headache #4.