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The Manchurian Candidate
As Greil Marcus reconstructs the drama, "The Manchurian Candidate" is a movie in which the director and actors were suddenly capable of anything, beyond any expectations. This book shows how the film has burrowed into American culture.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 26th 2002 by British Film Institute
(first published September 2nd 2002)
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Marcus writes like a dream. Though I might have liked a little more exploration of underlying meanings (or even just a willingness to admit that there *are* underlying meanings, though I admit it's a bit difficult with a film like this), I thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was a bit like looking at a series of Impressionist paintings, which illuminated even if they didn't analyze.
This has been sitting on my shelf for at least a year, waiting for the day when I finally got around to seeing the movie. That day came a couple weeks ago -- I loved the movie -- and it occurred to me afterwards that it would be a perfect time to read Marcus' little book. The book was pretty much what I expected, which is to say that it illuminated some things about the film and made me want to watch it again.
Greil Marcus is the author of Mystery Train (1975), Lipstick Traces (1989), The Shape of Things to Come (2006), When that Rough God Goes Riding and Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus (both 2010), and other books. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America (2009). In recent years he has taught at Berkeley, Princeton, Minnesota, NYU, and the New School in New York. He lives in ...moreMore about Greil Marcus