The Right Coast
July 25, 2004
Thumbs down from Betsy on Manchurian Candidate remake
By Tom Smith
As I watched a trailer for the remake of the Manchurian Candidate, I wondered vaguely what would be the evil force substituted for Communism in the new movie. I guess now I know. Evil American capitalists of course. Leave it to Hollywood to turn a brilliant piece of anti-communist paranoia into a high-tech anti-capitalist tool. What a shame. The original with Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh and Angela Lansbury (of subsequent Murder She Wrote fame) is a little gem of 1950s Americana (though actually it was made in 1962, it feels like the '50's). I personally find Lansbury's performance the most chilling. She can really act; the queen bee of evil routine works for me.
Somebody needs to explain why Hollywood is so Red. Is it just historical path dependency? It started out that way and now has reproduced itself? Here are all these people living the most sumptous lives in the history of planet, and yet their politics is Henry Wallace left, or something. Part of the explanation might be that the human capital that makes you a great actor (looks plus a weird talent something like the ability to lie well) does not necessarily correlate with intelligence or judgment at all. You can be as beautiful as a supermodel and thick as two short planks, as anyone who as watched cable TV knows. Maybe entertainer leftism is just a suddenly rich person's grab at intellectual respectability. In any event, it's all rather too bad, because in a country where 10 percent of people think Elvis lives, movies have a big influence on opinion.