Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
The American Context of Conspiracy Thrillers
’60s and Mid ’70s films made during the Conspiracy Thriller boom such as Manchurian Candidate (1962), Parallax View (1974), All the President’s Men (1976), and Stepford Wives (1975) seem to coordinate a critique or valorization of specifically American contexts. Manchurian Candidate demonstrates a stunning loss of American wartime innocence and domestic conspiracy in the same year John F. Kennedy was assassinated, resulting in the film being pulled from theatrical release. The Parallax View takes the notion of an American working against his/her own people a step further by enlisting an actual domestic cabal pulling the strings behind a patsy. All the President’s Men brings this fear of local threats home (literally and figuratively) with a very accurate retelling of the Watergate Scandal, a scheme that went right to the Oval Office. The purpose of this essay would be to select two to three of these films and identify what conventions used within these films spoke to an American context, and if possible, find what these films critiqued about American society in greater detail and how these concerns are relevant today. Some of the conventions include themes, characters, locations, symbols, and color coordination.