Turns out my fellow Drollerie author won’t be able to post today, sorry (though my post, as noted yesterday, is still up). So in lieu of that, here’s the stuff I’ve done for The Enemy Within this week:
The Fearmakers (1958) has Korean War vet Dana Andrews return to his old PR firm only to discover that it’s become a Red Front firm using slanted polls (gasp!) to “lead us down the road to another Munich!” See Dana Andrews beat up a Commie right in front of the Lincoln Memorial!
By eliminating Crichton’s exposition about How Sinister Orientals Think, Rising Sun (1993) tones down the racism of Crichton’s book, which shows how generic the plot is (you could do all this corporate scheming with a corrupt American firm just as easily). It’s still not very good, but it doesn’t offend me quite as much.
I’d thought Tokyo File 212 (1951) would qualify for my book, but despite having a former kamikaze pilot turn Communist—part of a Japanese spy network disrupting the Korean War supply lines—it doesn’t have the paranoid element I need. If anything, it’s quite the opposite: It’s startling how just a few years after World War II the Japanese are shown to be trusted allies rather than the sneaky, treacherous Orientals of World War II stereotyping.
Telefon(1977) has the KGB assign eidetic Charles Bronson stop hardline Stalinist Donald Pleasance from activating brainwashed sleeper agents for a string of terrorist acts. This may have been the first use of this idea since The Manchurian Candidate; the idea of a hardliner who refuses to accept detente was one comic-books would later use for years (followed by the hardliner who refuses to accept glasnost, then the hardliner who refuses to accept the USSR went kaput).
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) shifts the setting from Wholesome Small Town America to a somewhat goofy mix of oddballs in San Francisco; as the late critic Pauline Kael put it, it’s not about protecting normality as much as protecting the quirky and the individual from being wiped out. While it has flaws, and doesn’t match the original, the emotionally deadened pod people are considerably creepier here.
On the written side: The Age of Anxiety: McCarthy to Terrorism by Haynes Johnson is a blow-by-blow account of McCarthy’s years and ultimate fall and very informative on that regard, though not much help on the bigger pictures of paranoia. Certainly paints McCarthy as a smarter operator than the bludgeoning thug a lot of histories show.
Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America by Ellen Schrecker is a more wide-ranging book showing how the Red Scare’s fallout affected Hollywood, internationalrelations, Civil Rights, US government policy and liberalism (as even leftwing groups, as we know, decided they needed to purge themselves before tackling the Commie-hunters). Good, and slightly more useful to me.