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Some Other "Other" Mothers

Posted February 18, 2009 to photo album "Some Other "Other" Mothers"

Slide 1: Other Mother (Coraline)
Slide 2: Beverly R. Sutphin (Serial Mom)
Slide 3: Eleanor Iselin (The Manchurian Candidate)
Slide 4: Angela Petrelli (Heroes)
Slide 5: Edith Bouvier Beale (Grey Gardens)
Slide 6: Deirdre Burroughs (Running with Scissors)
Slide 7: Claire Roth (In a Country of Mothers)
Slide 8: Eva (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Slide 9: Joan Crawford (Mommie Dearest)
Slide 10: Mrs. Violet Venable (Suddenly, Last Summer)
Slide 11: Mrs. Robinson (The Graduate)
Slide 12: Margaret White (Carrie)
Slide 13: Livia Soprano (The Sopranos)
Slide 14: Wanda Holloway (The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom)
Slide 15: Barbara Baekeland (Savage Grace)
Slide 16: Medea (Medea)
Slide 17: Alexis Carrington (Dynasty)
Slide 3: Eleanor Iselin (The Manchurian Candidate)

Slide 3: Eleanor Iselin (The Manchurian Candidate)

For most people, the term "mama's boy" is an insult, but for Eleanor Iselin the controlling mom at the center of The Manchurian Candidate, it's a political strategy. Originally written as a novel by Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate was then adapted into a film, first by John Frankenheimer in 1962 (with Angela Lansbury as Eleanor), and in 2004 by Jonathan Demme (who cast Meryl Streep in the Lansbury role). All versions revolve around a soldier who's been brainwashed by enemy agents to become an assassin, and a mother who turns out to be secretly pulling all his strings. In the 60s, this was a complex, daring yarn, one that involved red Communist cells, right-wing zealots and political corruption at the highest levels of government. But for the filmmakers, the most terrifying tenet was the mother. John Frankenheimer remembers how while developing the film, he and screenwriter George Axelrod "realized that we were making a movie where Frank Sinatra, our hero, orders the murder of the mother, played by Angela Lansbury…good God, this is a terribly immoral movie, and we can't do this."  And yet by the end of the movie everyone wanted her dead anyway.