Saturday, April 11, 2015

THE GREAT VILLAIN BLOGATHON: BIG BAD MAMA: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE'S MRS. ISELIN

This is my entry in the Great Villain Blogathon hosted by the wonderful gals at SPEAKEASY, SHADOWS AND SATIN  and SILVER SCREENINGS. Click on their links for more dastardly deeds.

Mrs. Iselin was the very bad mama from John Frankenheimer's masterly "Manchurian Candidate" (1962). It seems she liked to keep a journal.....

A note from Mrs. Iselin


A woman in 1962 so rarely gets to tell her side of the story, especially in Washington. And, if she is smart and ambitious, she’d better be careful or she will be carted off to the loony bin. 

So, we Washington women must clink our cracked ice over lunch and smile and wear our tasteful and tailored suits while the men run the country. We must show ourselves to be concerned mothers and supportive wives. We encourage our sons to succeed. 


If I hadn't been born with a vagina I could rule the world. But, let me tell you, I am not going to let that part of my anatomy stop me. In fact, I’m making it work for me. That’s what a smart woman does; a smart COMMUNIST woman.

Sadly, the country is commie-crazy and the red hunt is on. So, I must disguise myself as a conservative patriot.  But this cloak of conservatism suits my purposes, for you see, I have a plan.



Step 1: Marry a likely candidate for President you can control. Senator Iselin is perfect – dumb as a box or rocks and easy to control (putting the old vagina to work, girls).

Step 2: Use superior brain power on inferior brains (otherwise known as “brainwashing”).


My poor son Raymond was sent over to Korea to fight the communists. Poor kid, ordered to fight against the people his mama supports. My son is weak and I do love him (in a weird kind of way) and I do not want him to be conflicted. And so, while spending a little time as a guest of the Communist Chinese, we perform a little experiment. Raymond and his captured platoon are so susceptible to brainwashing that they declare him a hero even though his handlers order him to brutally murder a fellow soldier.  Boy, they are a dumb bunch. Poor Raymond. I sort of wish we didn't have to use him this way, but he was the most malleable of the bunch. The rest of them were not much, but that Captain Marco bears some watching. Raymond is awarded the Medal of Honor. I've got it all under control.


Step 3: Set the plan in motion. It was a good plan. Brainwashed Raymond would come home and, like Pavlov’s dog, would become my slave when I utter the words “care for a game of solitaire?” Just in case, we keep a North Korean houseboy on hand. He is a good shot, so shooting the leading candidate for president shouldn't be difficult for him. This paves the way for me, I mean my husband, to become president. Oh what a good First Lady I will be!  The whole nation will know that red is my favorite color!


And this brainwashing thing is actually a kindness for Raymond, because once he snaps out of his trance, he remembers nothing. Such a good boy – I could just kiss him.


Now I only have to wait for the fools to begin their dance….


Post Script from Captain Marco:


What an evil broad! See, I started to have these dreams, visions really, and something in my gut told me my memories were all fake. Raymond thought so, too, and together we unraveled the master plan of his mama. I feared he was still under her spell when I discovered he was going to the convention to shoot the presidential candidate. But Raymond was clear – his rifle took out both Senator Iselin and his mother. Sadly, he turned the gun on himself, but he had this time earned that medal and done a real service to his country. Too bad his mother was red. I’ll bet she would have been a real ring-a-ding swinger.



One last thing... there is a rumor that Mrs. Iselin did not die that day, but instead was spirited away to Maine..some little burg called Cabot Cove....  A lot of people die in that town. Coincidence? I wonder....


34 comments:

Inge Gregusch said...

Brilliant. A creative and clever take on a classic, star-studded film. Angela Lansbury is terrifying good--and so are YOU!

Silver Screenings said...

Awesome! I love how you tied this movie with good ol' Cabot Cove at the end.

A very original look at this movie and at a very, VERY cunning villain (villainess?). Thanks so much for joining our blogathon with a sinister Mommie Dearest.

Caftan Woman said...

Love this post! It will certainly inform my next viewing of "The Manchurian Candidate". You really get your readers head.

girlsdofilm said...

This is an amazing post! I recently watched Season 3 of House of Cards and I'd been thinking a lot about power couples / political marriages and relationships of convenience, but I'd never really thought about the Manchurian Candidate within that context. Because it's such a classic it's hard to see it in a new light, but you certainly managed to do that in this post :)

Joey Halphen said...

great post. wonderful review. very good. i loved it greatly

Wendell Ottley said...

What a creative post this is. Loved reading every word of it!

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Inge - I always have a bit of a soft spot for those lady villains.

FlickChick said...

thank you, Ruth. You know, I never really trusted that Jessica Fletcher....

FlickChick said...

Thank you CW - yes, next time you watch have a little mercy on the poor gal - she needed an outlet.

FlickChick said...

Hey Girls - thanks so much. Yes - this gal has nothing on Frank and Claire Underwood.

FlickChick said...

Thank you Joey - so glad you liked it.

FlickChick said...

Wendell - thank you very much - it was fun to write.

shadowsandsatin said...

Loved your post, Chick -- so creative and so on point! Thanks so much for contributing it to the blogathon!

Leah Williams said...

Loved getting her perspective. Such a fun read!

http://cookazido.wordpress.com said...

This was so creative! I loved reading it. The ending was perfect. I haven't seen this one, but have seen a more recent version. After reading this, I realize I need to see this one, too. Thank you!

Judy said...

Very different and interesting way of looking at this film! I've seen it once and found it quite confusing, though brilliant, so clearly need to revisit.

Kristina Dijan said...

Fun and creative way to write this one up! Well done, and no survey of villains would be complete without her. p.s. I totally agree with you about the Cabot Cove theory. Always wanted the series finale to reveal that she was the killer, :) Thanks for being part of the blogathon!

flightstightsandmovienights.com said...

Very fun post, I only saw the Manchurian Candidate for the first time a few months ago but besides Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury stood out as quite the villain.

FlickChick said...

Karen - thanks for co-hosting this blogathon. There are so many great posts to get to!

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Leah - I love looking at things from the villain's perspective.

FlickChick said...

cookazido - I love this film and never tires of it - the performances are just outstanding and the story is harrowing.

FlickChick said...

Judy - it is brilliant and complex - but also so much evil fun!

FlickChick said...

Kristina - so, we agree that wherever there was a murder, there was Jessica Fletcher. Thanks for c o-hosting a great event.

FlickChick said...

Hey, flights - thanks so much - glad you enjoyed it.

portraitsbyjenni said...

I like how you presented your post-very clever!

said...

I haven't seen this movie yet, but I could get a taste of it through your post. You are a very gifted blogger, my friend!
Thanks for the kind comment!
Le

FlickChick said...

Thanks you Jenni - I appreciate the comment.

FlickChick said...

Thank you, Le! You should see this - mighty entertaining.

ClassicBecky said...

What a movie! And what an inspired way to discuss it! I really enjoyed this, Marsha. Angela Lansbury was so perfect for this because you just didn't expect the level of evil she portrayed. I haven't seen it in a long time and would like to again. I deliberately didn't see the remake because I love this one too much. Great job, Marsha!

CineMaven said...

Enjoyed your post on one of the baddest Mothers in film history. I got a tad lengthy with my comment, but if you've got some time, check them out here:

https://cinemavensessaysfromthecouch.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/the-great-villain-blogathon/2/

The Lady Eve said...

What a unique and inspired angle on that truly "evil broad," Mrs. Iselin. Hilarious, creative, I loved it. Still smiling.

FlickChick said...

Thanks, Becky. The remake was actually pretty good,but nothing can top the original.

FlickChick said...

CineMaven - thank you - I will surely check it out.

FlickChick said...

Lady Eve! So glad to see you - thanks for the lovely comment - and I hope I see more of you soon.