Charles S. Young and Susan L. Carruthers describe John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate (US, 1962) as a prisoner-of-war film. This article argues that, as such, it stages the responses of its male protagonists to trauma. Focusing on weeping, the article examines the representation of masculine traumatic symptoms in both Richard Condon's 1959 novel and Frankenheimer's cinematic adaptation of it. In a period of national shame about the unwon Korean conflict, Frankenheimer first feminizes his protagonists by rendering them hysterical, and then allows them to redeem themselves through heroic deeds of masculine role fulfillment. Drawing on the modeling of masculine hysteria by both Mark S. Micale and Elaine Showalter, the article is also informed not only by Bessel van der Kolk's descriptions of post-traumatic stress disorder but also by theorizations of tears in the writings of Tom Lutz, Steve Neale, and Linda Williams. Peter Brooks and Geoffrey Nowell-Smith mobilized ideas expressed here about melodrama. As a melodramatic enactment of masculine roles in the late 1950s and early 1960s, The Manchurian Candidate is both a trauma film and a “male weepy.”

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