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The Manchurian Candidate: Politics of Gender and Sexuality in 1960s Cold War Cinema

In many Cold War films of the 1960s, the dangers of femininity were stressed as causes for communism or other moral failures of men. This alleged danger was prominent in films such as The Red Menace (1962), where communism was linked to sexual deviance and the exploitation of women’s sexuality specifically through the character Mollie O’Flaherty. These links are intensified in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) through the character Mrs. Iselin, the wife of Senator Iselin, and the mother of Raymond Shaw. Scholar Tony Jackson claimed that in the film “gender issues become even more important than political issues,” based on Mrs. Iselin’s predominant concern with the lust for power, rather than h

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