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Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Posted November 28, 2011 to photo album "Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

The Cold War paranoia that permeates TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was a focus of a series of fascinating books and films created in post-war Europe and America.

Taking the Temperature of Cold War Culture
The Moral Quagmire: THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
Potential Fallout: FAIL SAFE
Paranoia Pulp: KISS ME DEADLY
Sex and the Soviet: From Russia with Love
Peace in a Pod: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Cold War Campaign: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
At Long Last: POINT OF ORDER
Cold War On The Rocks: TOPAZ
Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
The Cold War Capsized: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
Cold War Campaign: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

Cold War Campaign: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE

Released during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, John Frankenheimer’s THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE explored enduring strains in American paranoid politics, specifically the idea of the sleeper agent and the corruption of the American political process. In the story, several American POWs returning home from the Korean War experience disturbing nightmares about their commander, Sgt. Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey). One of the men, Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra), begins to investigate and learns that Raymond has been brainwashed by Chinese Communists, who have made him into an assassin hypnotically programmed to kill an American Presidential candidate, thereby enabling a McCarthy-esque anti-Communist secretly controlled by his Communist spy wife to win the election. Filled with surreal dream sequences, The Manchurian Candidate was both a terse Cold War thriller as well as a darkly comic satire of the American political process. Upon its release, it was banned in the Eastern Bloc for what were seen as anti-Communist themes while, in the U.S., the film was rumored to have inspired — or perhaps explained — the actions of Kennedy's assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. These rumors intensified when star Frank Sinatra bought the film’s rights and withdrew it from circulation. Years later, however, it was revealed that the cause was a financial dispute between studio United Artists and Sinatra.