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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Manchurian Candidate can be found here.
The Manchurian Candidate is a 1959 thriller novel written by American novelist Richard Condon. It was adapted for the screenplay by American screenwriter, playwright, and director George Axelrod [1922-2003].
Those who have both seen the movie and read the book say that the movie was very true to the novel. Outside of the extraneous backstories, characters, and details that are unable to be squeezed into a reasonable-length movie, there are only a few notable differences. For example, at the end of the movie, Raymond (Laurence Harvey) turns the gun on himself, unprovoked, whereas in the novel Marco (Frank Sinatra), using the Queen of Diamonds, causes him to do this. In addition, Raymond describes his mission to Marco during the debriefing scene in the book. In the movie, it's Mrs. Iselin (Angela Lansbury) from whom we hear about the mission. The novel also contains more about Raymond's mother and her incestuous relationship with her father as well as more about Iselin (James Gregory) (an account of how his war record was faked and how he passed off an injury to his foot as a war wound, when in fact he was bitten in the foot by an Eskimo woman whose igloo he visited when he was searching for sex).
The Manchurian candidate is Senator Iselin (James Gregory).
Rosie's inexplicable dialogue in the train scene was taken, according to the director's commentary, directly from the novel. Its meaning is a matter of debate among fans and is up to interpretation. It's possible she was saying strange things to catch Marco's attention. Critic Roger Ebert theorised that Rosie was Marco's "American operator," working with the conspiracy and trying to control Marco. Yet another theory, which the 2004 remake endorses, is that she was working with the US government.
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