Remember the good old days, when the idea of a Russian-controlled U.S. president was still the stuff of fiction?

This week, we're sitting down for Nakea's first viewing of John Frankenheimer's cold-war conspiracy classic The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Along the way, we're discussing the various uses of the term "Manchurian candidate" in political discourse, sharing our own fears and frustrations about the current state of America's government, and expressing our nagging doubts about whether a silly pop-culture podcast is the best place to put our energies at this particularly horrific moment in history.

No, it's not our funniest episode ever.


0:00: Prologue: "Mueller Thinks Trump is The Manchurian Candidate"
1:05: Preliminary Conversation: Is Trump a "Manchurian Candidate?"
19:01: Interlude: Angela Lansbury and John McGiver in The Manchurian Candidate
20:10: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion of The Manchurian Candidate
24:30: Interlude: Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate
25:14: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion of The Manchurian Candidate
1:38:20: Outro and Next Week's Movie

Notes and Links

—Movie Reviewed: The Manchurian Candidate (dir. John Frankenheimer, United Artists, 1962)
—Reviews Mentioned: Pauline Kael; Roger Ebert
—Sample of Articles on Trump as a "Manchurian Candidate": The GuardianThe New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Salon, The Hill, CNBC
—Prologue sound clip from Katy Tur's interview with former Trump aide Sam Nunberg on MSNBC
—Read The Unenthusiastic Critic in prose form at
Email us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are welcome!)
—"Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.

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2 thoughts on “THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)”

  1. Your podcast is very informative and deserves to be heard by more than just the few to a dozen people estimated.

    A side note: Angela Lansbury was only 3 years older than Laurence Harvey yet was so convincing playing his mother.

    The discussion of Russia and white supremacy was echoed in Bill Maher's show last night.

    "What was he doing with his hands?" What do people do with their hands today? They push tiny buttons and scroll through card-size pages on phones, with their faces glued to the screen, walking like zombies, addicted and suggestible. That's how Russian social media manipulators got just enough of them in the right states to tip the scale for what Paul Krugman termed, "The Siberian Candidate."

    1. Thanks, Sam. We tend towards self-deprecation, so we understated our listenership slightly. But I agree we should have a larger audience. To that end, I hope our (dozens of!) fans consider leaving us a review on iTunes and proselytizing for us on social media. Every little bit helps.

      And, as far as I'm concerned, any discussion of Trump that omits the words "white supremacy" is incomplete and irresponsible. But that's me.

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