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Greatest hits

Hits and misses
By PETER KEOUGH AND PAUL BABIN  |  September 22, 2006

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"Why don't you pass the time with a game of solitaire?": The Manchurian Candidate
1
Movie:
Birth of a Nation (1915) (D.W. Griffith)
Target: Abraham Lincoln
Assassin: John Wilkes Booth
Defender: When you come right down to it, it’s the Ku Klux Klan
Conspiracy: Northern carpetbaggers eager to get rid of “the south’s best friend” in order to institute the horrors of Reconstruction
Weapon of Choice: Derringer
Moment of Truth: A lighter moment during My American Cousin at Ford’s Theater
Codeword: “Sic semper tyrannis!”
Hit or Miss? “It is like Writing history with lightning.” Woodrow Wilson

2
Movie:Foreign Correspondent (1940), (Alfred Hitchcock)
Target: The Dutch Minister Van Meer
Assassin: A spy ring disguised as pacifists
Defender: The working press
Conspiracy?: So that’s how World War II started.
Weapon of Choice: Flash camera.
Code word: “Keep those lights burning!”
Do or Die Moment: What’s up with that windmill?
Hit or Miss: “No one but Hitchcock would dare to whip up a picture like this and for those who can take their sensationalism without batting a skeptical eye it should be high-geared entertainment.”- Bosley Crowther, New York Times

3
Movie:The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) (Hitchcock)
Target: Ambassador MacGuffin
Assassin: The man behind the curtain..
Defender: Doris Day?
Codeword: “Qué será, será.”
Conspiracy?: What else would he know too much about?
Weapon of Choice: Clashing symbols.
Do or Die Moment: Let’s just say you might get a little tired of “Storm Cloud Cantata.”
Hit or Miss: “Doris Day is as wholesome as a bowl of corn flakes and at least as sexy.” Dwight MacDonald

4
Movie:The Manchurian Candidate (1962) (John Frankenheimer)
Target: Anyone who gets in Angela Lansbury’s way
Assassin: There’s nothing like a mother’s love
Defender: Old Blue Eyes
Conspiracy?: Try a communist takeover. Or is that a Republican takeover?
Weapon of Choice: A deck of cards.
Codeword: “Why don’t you pass the time with a game of solitaire?”
Do or Die Moment: The political rally
Hit or Miss: Rotten Tomatoes rates it as “100% Fresh.”

5
Movie:The Day of the Jackal (1973) (Fred Zinnemann)
Target: Charles de Gaulle
Assassin: They don’t call him “the jackal” for nothing
Defender: Inspector Closeau comes to mind.
Conspiracy?: You can’t get rid of de Gaulle without one
Weapon of Choice: The handmade sniper rifle
Codeword: “Considering you expect to get  France in return, I consider it a reasonable price.”
Do or Die Moment: The lifesaving kiss on the cheek
Hit or Miss: “Good trash.”- Pauline Kael

6
Movie:
Taxi Driver (1976) (Martin Scorsese)
Target: Senator  Charles Palantine
Assassin: Travis Bickle
Defender: The secret service.
Conspiracy?: No conspiracy, just insanity.
Weapon of Choice: The .44? The .38? The .25? I’ll take ‘em all!
Codeword: “You talking to me?”
Do or Die Moment: Bickle at the Palantine rally inconspicuouus with his fatigue jacket, arsenal and mohawk.  Unless you prefer real life, in which case it’s David Hinckley taking aim at Reagan in 1981.
Hit or Miss: “One of the Best and most powerful of all films.” Roger Ebert”

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Related: All but the wank, Hindsight, Adaptation, More more >
  Topics: Features , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Pauline Kael,  More more >
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