The Manchurian Candidate
Based on Richard Condon’s novel and directed by John Frankenheimer, American soldiers fighting in Korea are captured and brainwashed to respect a hero who is programmed to carry out orders for American political fanatics led by his mother.
In 1952 in Korea an Army truck stops. While Captain Bennett Marco (Frank Sinatra) waits, the driver Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) gets out and goes into a building and finds a crowded bar. He blows a whistle and orders the men to go.
At night three soldiers cross a river, and Chunjin (Henry Silva) tells them it is a bad place with quicksand around. He recommends soldiers going forward in a single line, but Marco rejects it as impractical. Corporal Allen Melvin (James Edwards) asks if they can go around it, but Chunjin says no. Marco orders the line. The men walk on a ridge in single file. Suddenly they are attacked and beat with rifles while no shot is fired. The enemy soldiers carry them away on stretchers while an enemy officer shakes Chunjin’s hand. The American soldiers are put on helicopters.
A band plays as people welcome a plane with soldiers including Shaw who is to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor from the President. Generals salute him, but he says he feels like Captain Idiot. His mother Mrs. Eleanor Shaw Iselin (Angela Lansbury) rushes up and places a banner behind him and has a man take a picture of Shaw with Senator John Yerkes Iselin (James Gregory) and a general. Reporters question Senator Iselin who gives them his opinions. Shaw says he is not his father, and Eleanor says he is Raymond’s step-father. Shaw says she organized this three-ring circus, and she congratulates him on his medal. They push through the crowd and get into a car. The Senator says they arranged a parade for him. Shaw says that Johnny is up for re-election and that they have it all figured out how to get him 50,000 votes. She says she is his mother and that her entire life is devoted to helping him and Johnny.
Shaw is cited for saving the lives of the nine men in his patrol and leading them back from enemy lines to safety.
Eleanor and Johnny show Shaw the airplane they have entered, and he asks if he can take off the medal. He says he is not going home with her because he got a job on a newspaper in New York doing research for Holborn Gaines. She says Gaines is a Communist, but Shaw says he is a Republican. She says he has written terrible things about Johnny. Shaw says Gaines interviewed him at the White House that morning, and he asked him for a job. He discovered they have much in common, and she asks what. He says they both loathe and despise her and Johnny, and that’s a start. He turns and walks out of the plane.
After the war Captain Marco was assigned to Army intelligence in Washington. Every night the Major is plagued by a reoccurring nightmare. Marco is lying on his bed in his uniform and is perspiring during a dream in which he is sitting with other soldiers in a greenhouse listening to a woman talk about hydrangea flowers. Ladies are also listening. The scene changes with the same eight soldiers sitting and listening to Dr. Yen Lo (Khigh Dhiegh) talk about brain-washing as they are observed by men in a small theater. He explains they think they are in a Ladies Garden Club in New Jersey. The lady presents the great Raymond Shaw, and Yen Lo tells him to move his chair closer to him. He says it is believed that no one can be hypnotized to do anything against his moral nature. He says that is nonsense and cites scholarly papers. Chunjin is taking notes. Dmitri in the audience asks if a man has ever killed anyone. The lady responds to his question. She asks Raymond if he has ever killed anyone, and he says no. She asks about in combat, and he says he thinks so. Yen Lo says of course he has. The lady asks for the bayonet, and Dmitri says not with a knife but with the hands. A lady offers a handkerchief, and Dmitri gives him a cloth. Yen Lo asks Raymond whom he likes least of those there. He says Captain Marco, but the lady says they need him to get him his medal. Raymond says Ed Mavole, and Yen Lo gives him the scarf and tells him to strangle Ed Mavole to death. He walks behind him and puts it around his neck. Yen Lo tells him to sit there and cooperate, and he replies, “Yes, ma’am.” Raymond pulls the scarf tight. Marco yawns and then wakes up from the dream screaming.
At an Army Intelligence meeting a medical officer asks Marco if any other men in his unit have had similar dreams. Marco says that Mavole was one of the two men killed in the action, and yet every night in his dream he is the one. He says he is sorry. Col. Milt (Douglas Henderson) says that Shaw and his actions and associations have been investigated thoroughly. He has been hired by the most respected political journalist in America. An Asian in a suit asks Marco’s personal feelings about Shaw. Marco says he is the kindest human being he has ever known. Milt asks if the other soldiers felt the same, and Marco says the men loved him. He saved their lives. The medical officer says Marco is suffering from his continuous combat in Korea. He suggests they drop the Shaw case and assign Marco to easier and less sensitive duties. He advises that putting him in the public relations corps will put him back in the pink.
Many reporters, photographers, and television cameras are attending a press conference with the Secretary of Defense (Barry Kelley) and Marco. The Secretary calls a question about budget cuts to the military simple-minded because they have the strongest Navy in the world by far. They have superfluous surface ships and thus intend to cut the budget. He asks how much longer they are going to go on with this nonsense, and Marco says if there are no further questions, that wraps it up. Eleanor is watching a TV monitor in the room as Senator Iselin says he has a question so serious that the safety of their nation may depend on his answer. He tells him to make no evasions, and the Secretary asks what he is talking about. Marco advises him to be nice to a senator even if he is an idiot. Iselin says he has there a list of 207 persons who are known by the Secretary of Defense as being members of the Communist Party. He shouts there will be no covering up while the Secretary tries to get his name and asks how he got in there. He tells Marco the throw the lunatic out. They shout at each other at the same time. Marco moves to the cloak room and asks the senator the number he gave, and Iselin says 104 in the Defense Department and then 275. A reporter asks Marco how many he said, and Marco slaps away his note pad.
Corporal Allen Melvin is sleeping in bed with his wife and is having a similar dream to what Marco had. In his dream Marco says he will recommend Shaw for the Congressional Medal. A black lady stands up and asks a question, and all the ladies are Negroes. Yen Lo continues his demonstration by asking Shaw to identify the small soldier Bobby Lembeck whom Shaw calls their mascot because he was so young. Yen Lo tells Marco to lend his pistol to Shaw, and he complies. Yen Lo orders Shaw to shoot Bobby through the forehead, and Shaw says, “Yes ma’am.” As he shoots him, Melvin screams in his bed. His wife tries to calm him down, and she tells him it is all right. He says his dream has been going on for weeks. She suggests he write to Shaw to see if anyone else is having dreams like his. He says maybe he will help him. She asks if he likes him, and he uses the same words that Marco said about Shaw.
Shaw in a suit and tie is riding in a taxi. He gets out and goes into a large apartment building. He unlocks his door and picks up his mail. Inside he opens a letter and hears the words of Melvin as he tells about his dream. The phone rings, and a voice tells him to pass the time by playing solitaire. He picks up cards and begins playing a solitaire game. When he sees the queen of diamonds, the phone rings again. He is asked if he sees the red queen. He is told that a week from Saturday he will be taken to a sanitarium at an address for a checkup. He is told to put the cards away now.
A woman receives a teletype message from AP that Shaw was run down by a hit-and-run driver, and she tells Holborn Gaines (Lloyd Corrigan) about it. He tells her to call the hospital to see if they can help.
In a room two men in white are attending to Shaw while a nurse hangs up the phone and tells Zilkov (Albert Paulsen) in a dark suit that it was Mr. Gaines from the newspaper. She told him not to worry, and Zilkov says they will not tell him in case there was a pre-arranged code. He answers the door, and Yen Lo says he is from the Pavlov Institute. Zilkov says it is an honor and a pleasure, and he has the three medical people leave. Yen Lo says he flew in last night with the embassy quota on a revolting journey. He says it is nice to Shaw who replies with the same words. Zilkov says they are going through this procedure out of caution in case there are visitors. Yen Lo likes the room, and Zilkov says it is a rest home for wealthy alcoholics that they purchased three years ago. They sealed off two floors for security while the rest functions normally and is one of the few Soviet operations in America that showed a profit last year. Yen Lo warns him about the virus of capitalism and laughs. Yen Lo advises Zilkov to cultivate a sense of humor to lighten the burdens of the day. Yen Lo asks Raymond if he remembers murdering Mavole and Lembeck. Shaw tells the story of how they were killed in a battle. Yen Lo reminds Zilkov of the power of what he is doing. Yen Lo tells Shaw to remove his head bandage. He says Americans are being trained to kill on command and then have no memory of having killed. Without any memory they cannot feel any guilt nor would they fear being caught. He cannot give himself away. He says Shaw will remain a respected member of the community. He says his mind has been dry cleaned and laughs. He tells him to put his head bandage back on, and he tells Zilkov that he may have visitors to avoid suspicion. He says a team of specialists are coming in to check out Shaw to make sure the programming of two years ago is still functioning before they turn him over to his American operators. Yen Lo says he is going to Macy’s to buy things for his wife, and he goes out.
Shaw is sitting up in bed, and Zilkov tells Yen Lo that he refuses to turn him over to his operator until he has passed at least one practical test. He tells Yen Lo to have him assassinate someone. Yen Lo does not want to take that risk just to satisfy Zilkov’s nervousness. Zilkov says he admits he has not killed for more than two years. Yen Lo says he can have him kill one of his men in that facility. Zilkov replies he would, but they are terribly understaffed. He asks if he can kill some unproductive person on the outside. Yen Lo suggests he kill his superior at the newspaper, Holborn Gaines. Then he might be given that very influential job.
Shaw visits Gaines in his home and finds him in bed reading. Gaines asks what he is doing there at four in the morning. Shaw says they told him he would be asleep. Gaines asks who the mysterious “they” is. Shaw walks toward him.
Marco answers his door and lets Col. Milt into his apartment and offers him a drink. Milt says it is an official visit and asks about his books. Marco says a guy picks them out for him at random in San Francisco. He says he has read them all. He says he is interested in the various topics of the books. Milt says the Arm takes care of its own people, but he is a disaster as a public relations officer. He allowed the Secretary of Defense to make unfortunate remarks to the idiot Iselin. Marco says he has been nearly driven out of his mind by the same recurring dream for the last six months. He asks what the medical corps knows about intelligence work. He thinks there is something phony about himself, Shaw, and the Medal of Honor business. Marco says that when asked about Shaw, he always says the same flattering thing. Although he still feels it now, something in the back of his mind is telling him that it is not true. He says Raymond is impossible to like and that he is one of the most repulsive persons he has ever known. Milt tells him that Public Relations bounced him back to him; but in his present condition he cannot possibly use him. He is placing him on indefinite sick leave, and he urges him to find himself a girl. Marco says he absolutely refuses. Milt says he does not understand; it was not a suggestion, but it is an order. Marco says, “Yes, sir.” As Milt is leaving, Marco salutes him.
Marco is on a train and has trouble lighting a cigarette. He asks Eugenie Rose Chaney (Janet Leigh) if she minds if he smokes, and she says no. He gets up and walks away, and she follows him and lights one for him. She says Maryland and Ohio are beautiful states. He asks if she is in the railroad business. She says not anymore. She asks where his home is, and he says he is a major in the Army. He was born in New Hampshire. He asks her name. She is glad her friends do not call her Jennie but says that he can. She says her friends call her Rosie. She says Eugenie is more fragile. He asks why she said her name was Eugenie, and she says she was feeling fragile then. He asks if she is Arabic, and she says no. He says he was named Bennett after his father’s commanding officer. She calls him Major Marco and asks if he is Arabic, and he says no. They both say they are not married. She tells him where she works and where she lives and gives him her phone number. He says he can remember all that. He says he was stationed in Washington, but he got sick and is going to New York. He says he is going to look up an old friend of his he knew in Korea.
In his office a woman tells Shaw that an Oriental man who says he was in the Army with him is insisting on seeing him. He says to show him in, and Chunjin reminds him he was their interpreter. Chunjin asks if his father, Senator Iselin, spoke to him, and Shaw emphasizes that he is not his father. Chunjin says Iselin got him a visa, and now he needs a job. Shaw says they don’t need interpreters there. Chunjin says he can cook, drive a car, or clean or fix things. He can sleep at his cousin’s. He says Shaw is a great man who saved his life. Shaw says he could use a valet and a good cook. He hires him for $60 a week, and Chunjin thanks him. He tells him to prepare dinner for tonight.
Eleanor tells Johnny that he is going to be marvelous. He wishes they could settle on the number of Communists they know are in the Defense Department. She tells him to do what he is told. He asks for one number that will be easy for him to remember.
Iselin tells the senators that there are exactly 57 Communists in the Defense Department.
Marco knocks on Shaw’s door. When Chunjin answers, he assaults him. They fight using Oriental methods. Marco gets Shaw down and kicks him several times. He asks what Shaw was doing with his hands. Two policemen come in and pull Marco off him.
Marco is sitting in a chair, and Eugenie comes in and says he was original in getting the police to call her for their first date. He told them to call her. They leave together, and she carries his suitcase.
In a car Marco says he has to find Raymond. She tends to his wounded face and says she called her fiancé. He came over, and she gave him his ring back. She kissed him goodbye for the last time and got the call from the police who said he was beating up a large Chinese man. Marco thinks he was Korean. She learned they checked with Washington, and she thought he must be important if they asked George Washington. She says they could have asked her, and she would have told them. They kiss.
Shaw opens the door and tells Marco that they called him and told him that he broke into his apartment and beat up his houseboy. Marco comes in, and Shaw says he looks terrible. Marco sees the mess of papers and picks up a couple. Then he finds the Congressional Medal and says he never saw one before. He says he has been having a nightmare with strange people. Shaw asks if it is about a Chinese man and some Russians and him and the patrol. Marco grabs Shaw’s coat and asks how he knew that. Shaw tells him to take his hands off him. Shaw says he does not know anything about it. He says that Al Melvin wrote to him a couple weeks ago, and he was surprised to hear from him because they hated him so much. He wrote that he was his best friend in the Army. He said he was going out of his mind. Marco asks him to tell him about the nightmare. He said the patrol was sitting in a hotel lobby with Russian and Chinese brass. Marco asks if he has the letter. Shaw says he never keeps letter and asks if it is the same thing Marco has been dreaming. Marco asks him to call Eugenie’s number and tell her that he has gone to Washington the town, and he goes out.
At a briefing an officer is showing photographs of foreigners, especially Russians and Chinese. Marco identifies two photographs, and Milt tells him that Melvin picked out the same two men. Marco describes what they looked like and wore. Milt tells Marco that he is setting up a joint intelligence, CIA, and FBI unit based in New York. He will work with them as Army Intelligence, and his assignment is Raymond Shaw.
Shaw is drunk and tells Marco that his mother is a terrible woman. He calls to Chunjin for more wine and then remembers that he gave him the night off for Christmas. Marco says he is probably a Buddhist. Marco opens another bottle and pours wine for Shaw who turns off Christmas music. Marco says he is interested. Shaw says he did not always hate his mother. After what she did to him and Jocelyn Jordan, he really hated her. She is the daughter of Senator Jordan. He shows Marco a picture of her. Shaw says that years later he realized he is not lovable, but he was very lovable with Jocelyn. He hopes that Marco will not hate him for hating his mother. He says he has become even less lovable since the summer before he went into the Army. He was bitten by a snake and was lying there without moving to keep the poison from circulating. Suddenly Jocelyn Jordan (Leslie Parrish) was there with a razor blade. Needing a cloth, she takes off her blouse to wrap his leg. She tells him not to move and gets on her bike to get the car.
Senator Thomas Jordan (John McGiver) tells Shaw that he is a lucky man, and Jocelyn laughs. Shaw sits up and thanks her. They learn his name, and he says his house is just across the lake. Jordan says they were told that is the summer camp of Senator Iselin. Shaw says he stays there sometimes when he gets too drunk with his mother to be seen in Washington. Jordan suggests the traditional remedy against snake bite, and Jocelyn leaves the room. Jordan says he once sued his mother for defamation of character, and Shaw says he is a Communist. Jordan says that his mother thinks that anyone who disagrees with her is a Communist. In the suit she had to pay him $65,000 plus court costs. What bothered her most was that he donated all the money to the American Civil Liberties Union. Shaw asks Senator Jordan for his permission to marry Jocelyn. She and her father look at each other and laugh. Shaw starts laughing too. Shaw says they were together the entire summer, and they were never bored. Everybody was lovable except his mother.
Raymond comes in at 3 a.m., and his mother Eleanor says she wants to talk to him about that Communist tart. He tells her to shut up. She asks if he is out to crucify her. She tells him to sit down. She asks how he would see her; she lives in New York. She says they are in the Cold War, and everyone will have to say on which side they are on. She says she will show him proof that Jordan is evil. He puts his hands over his ears.
He tells Marco that his mother won as she always does. He says he could never beat her. He signed a terrible letter to Jocelyn, and the next day he enlisted in the Army and never saw her again. He cries and says he is not lovable. He says he does love her and puts his head on the table. Marco tells him to call it a night.
Shaw goes into a bar and drinks a beer. He asks for a deck of cards and plays solitaire. Marco comes in and apologizes for being late. Shaw sees the queen of diamonds and overhears the bartender telling a story about when he told someone to jump in the lake. Shaw goes out and gets in his car.
Shaw goes down stairs, and Marco follows him. Shaw finds his way past boats to a pier. He walks off the end of the pier and falls in the water. Marco runs to the end of the pier and helps him out of the water. Marco asks what is the matter with him, but Shaw says he does not remember playing solitaire. Marco remembers in his dream that Shaw was playing solitaire.
An expert tells Marco that the solitaire game serves as a trigger mechanism. He suggests they focus on the face cards and eliminate jacks and kings. Marco sees the queen of diamonds and remembers the Chinese man telling them that this card represents Shaw’s mother.
Senator Iselin is being prepared for his speech, and Eleanor says that Raymond should get married. He asks who he could marry. She says that now she thinks she would make a good wife for Raymond. She suggests they give a little party. He starts to say something, and she tells him not to think. She tells him to keep yelling, “Point of order!”
Raymond is typing while his mother tells Chunjin she thinks he came from another century. She tells him how to cook the steaks. Raymond asks her what she is doing there. He asks if she wants something. She says they are giving a party in honor of Jocelyn Jordan and her father. She thought that because of the shabby way he treated her that they should give her a coming-home party.
At the party Iselin is playing Abe Lincoln. Raymond is a gaucho, and Iselin asks if he is a Dutch skater. Eleanor tells Raymond that she will be there. She suggests they sneak away and have a drink.
Eleanor and Raymond come into an empty room, and she locks the door. She tells him to pass the time by playing solitaire.
Senator Jordan tells Iselin that he is at the Fascist party because his daughter wanted him to come.
Eleanor hears Johnny knocking and tells him to go away. She takes the phone number with her and says she will back as soon as she can. Jocelyn comes from an outside door and says she has been watching him through the window. She is wearing a large queen of diamonds, and Shaw embraces her.
Jordan watches Iselin going under a limbo pole. Eleanor gives Johnny a drink and tells him to drink it. She goes to Tom Jordan and says she knows he has strong feelings toward her and Johnny. She asks if Johnny’s name was put forward, would he oppose him. He asks if she is serious, and she says only for the second spot. She asks if he would block them. He says he would spend all his money to block her. He despises John Iselin. He believes if he were a paid Soviet agent, he could not be doing more harm to this country than he is doing now. He says if she attempts to deal with the delegates or have his name brought forward, he will bring impeachment proceedings against him in the United States Senate.
Eleanor goes back into the room and sees the large queen of diamonds on the floor.
Marco shows Eugenie a deck of cards in which they are all the queen of diamonds. He suggests they get married. She says he is in good spirits. He says tomorrow is the big day. He is going to have lunch with Raymond and play solitaire. She says she wants to marry him and kisses him. He suggests they make wedding plans. He kisses her.
Marco is in his Army uniform when Raymond and Jocelyn come in. They tell him they just got married, and Marco congratulates her. Raymond says he is the luckiest guy in the world. He tells her to open a bottle, and Raymond goes to change. He says she looked like the queen of diamonds, and he was Gaucho Marx. He tells Ben that he made a joke. He says this is a big day. He leaves the room, and Marco asks her what he meant that she was the queen of diamonds. He tells her that he came there to ask Raymond to turn himself in for questioning. He says Raymond is sick in a special way. She says he is the healthiest man she knows. She realizes he is tied up inside in a thousand knots, but he is good with her. She says they were married six hours ago and have been in cars since. She asks him to trust her that she can make him well. He gives her 48 hours, and then he will talk to him. She thanks him, kisses him, and goes out.
Jocelyn and Raymond are in bed, and she calls him darling. Later after eating, she turns on the television. They see on the news a feud between Senator Iselin and Senator Jordan. Iselin says he will move for Jordan’s impeachment and a civil trial. Raymond tells her to get dressed because they are driving down to New York. He tells her to go straight to her father’s house, and he will join her there later. He says he is going to beat the slandering numskull to a bloody pulp.
Raymond comes in and asks her mother where her vile husband is. She says there is something important that he has to do, and she grabs a deck of cards.
At night Shaw goes up steps. He comes into the house, and Jordan congratulates him and welcomes him into the family. He hopes he has not been too upset by the idiotic attacks by Iselin. He is not worried by the his attacks. Jordan asks why he is carrying a pistol with a silencer. Shaw shoots Jordan dead. Jocelyn comes toward him asking what it is, and he shoots her dead too.
Shaw comes out of the house and seems to be in a trance.
Marco comes in with a newspaper, and Eugenie asks what it is. He shows her the newspaper and says that Raymond killed Senator Jordan and his own wife. Marco says it was not really Raymond but him.
Senator Iselin is telling reporters of his grief.
Marco at work answers the phone. Raymond asks him how it could have happened. He thinks he is going crazy and says he has having bad dreams. Marco asks where he is, and Raymond tells him he is in a hotel room and tells him where. Marco tells him to wait there. He hangs up and tells his colleagues that he will take it now. A man offers him a pistol, but he says no; he wants him to trust him. A man tells Marco that they just gave the vice presidential nomination to that idiot Iselin.
Marco comes into the room and finds Raymond in a chair with his eyes closed. Marco says hi, and Raymond asks him who killed Jocelyn. Marco asks him to pass the time by playing solitaire. He turns over the queen of diamonds. Marco says they are going to unlocking a few doors. He asks him if he saved their lives or anything like that, and Raymond says no. Marco asks what happened, and Raymond says the patrol was taken by a Russian air-borne unit and flown by helicopter across the Manchurian border to Tungwa. They were worked on for three days by a team of experts from the Pavlov Institute in Moscow. He says they developed a technique to descend into the unconscious mind. Marco asks what else happened at Tungwa. Raymond says they were drilled for three days to memorize the details of the imaginary action. He says he strangled Mavole and shot Lembeck. Marco tells him to keep playing cards, and he turns over another queen of diamonds. Raymond says he killed Mr. Gaines in a test. Jumping in the lake was an accident because of what someone said in the bar. He turns over another card, and he says he killed Senator Jordan. Marco tells him to forget what happened at Jordan’s house until he tells him to remember it. Marco asks about the big one. Why is this being done? What have they prepared him to do. Raymond says he does not know. He says it is supposed to happen soon at the convention maybe. He says they can make him do anything, but Marco says they will see. Marco shows him the deck of queen of diamonds. He tells him it is over; the conditioned links are smashed. He says they are busting up the joint and tearing out all the wires. He orders that he does not work anymore. If anyone invites him to play solitaire, he says the ball game is over. Raymond answers the phone. He tells Marco that it is time for his American operator to give him the plan. He tells his mother that he understands. He tells Marco that she wants him to go in a car that is waiting downstairs. He says he has to go now. Marco gives him a phone number and tells him to call him when he knows what he is supposed to do. He tells him to remember that he is free now. Raymond goes out.
In a room with the large queen of diamonds on the floor Eleanor tells Raymond that he will be dressed as a priest to help him get away. She says that Chunjin will give him a sniper’s rifle that fits into a bag. He will shoot from under the roof, and he is to shoot the presidential nominee through the head. Johnny will lift Ben Arthur’s body in his arms and then gives a short, rousing speech. She will have somebody take the body away from him. He will be defending the nation to sweep him into the White House with great power. He is to shoot him when he speaks a certain phrase which she tells him. She asks if that is clear and asks him to repeat the phrase, and she helps him with it. She says he will not comprehend this, but she did not know it would be him. She says she helped them, and she asked for an assassin. They chose him because they thought it would bind her to them. She says she will take power and then will grind them down for what they did to him.
The convention center is being prepared with large pictures of Arthur and Iselin. Shaw dressed as a priest walks with a suitcase and finds the stairs. He walks to the top of the balcony and goes in a door and across a beam and through another door. He looks through an opening at the stage. He sits down and looks at his watch.
Marco is looking at a clock and asks why he has not called. He watches television and says the Garden is filling up. He admits he blew it and calls himself a stupidity officer. He says Raymond was theirs and will always be theirs. Marco and Milt decide to leave there.
Milt and Marco drive to the convention and go inside. The place is full of people celebrating. Marco says there is a time bomb there. A band plays “The Star Spangled Banner” while a woman sings. Eleanor tells Johnny to stop twitching because Raymond never missed with a rifle in his life.
Raymond opens the suitcase and puts together the sniper’s rifle.
A man introduces the presidential candidate Benjamin Arthur. Marco sees something and runs to get there.
Raymond loads the rifle and aims at Arthur as he speaks. Marco crosses the beam. When the phrase is spoken, Raymond shoots Johnny and Eleanor. Marco comes in and sees Raymond who turns around and says he could not have stopped them, and the Army could not stop them. So he had to do it. Raymond shoots himself in the forehead.
Marco is looking out a window on a rainy day and speaks of poor, friendless Raymond. He says he was wearing his medal when he died. He tells Eugenie to read some of the citations some time. Marco reads what some of the Medal of Honor winners did in battle. Then Marco closes the book and says he was made to commit acts too unspeakable to be cited here by an enemy who had captured his mind. He freed himself at last, and in the end gave his life to save his country. Raymond Shaw. Marco says, “Hell.”
This political drama thriller satirizes the anti-Communist hysteria of the early Cold War during and after the Korean War when McCarthyism used fear to control people into betraying anyone on the left side of the political spectrum. The method of brainwashing reflects the current development of advertising methods that are designed to manipulate people into buying products. Though these events seem extreme, there is evidence that the Army and CIA may have brainwashed Mark Chapman with LSD to assassinate John Lennon.