The Manchurian Candidate. The 1959 book by Richard Condon. A 1962 movie of that title (released at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis). With a remake in 2004 . . . . .
Major Bennett Marco, Sergeant Raymond Shaw and the rest of their infantry platoon are captured in 1952 – during the Korean War. They are transported to Manchuria where all are brainwashed to believe that Shaw saved their lives in combat. Shaw upon his return to the States is awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage.
Years later, Marco – also back home – begins suffering a recurrent nightmare. Of Shaw murdering two of his colleagues under the watchful eye of Chinese and Soviet intelligence officers. Marco learns that another soldier from the platoon is suffering the same nightmare. And Marco begins to investigate . . . . .
Marco learns that the Communists have been using Shaw as a sleeper agent – an assassin — who is subconsciously activated by the Queen of Diamonds. Shaw’s handler turns out to be his mother – Eleanor. The goal is to have Shaw assassinate a Presidential candidate – and to advance a puppet dictator — Senator Johnny Iselin. Marco meets with Shaw. Plays the Queen of Diamonds and gives Shaw instructions. In the end, Shaw ends up killing his mother, Iselin and himself.
In today’s political climate – with both candidates having such close sub rosa ties to Russia – one has to wonder. Perhaps one is activated by Queen of Spades. And the other by the Joker . . . . .