Movies watched For The Enemy Within

I went to GHOST WRITER (2010) primarily for TYG’s birthday, but I did wonder if the conspiracy angles would justify its inclusion. No, although the story of Ewan McGregor learning what happened to ex-Prime Minister Pierce Brosnan’s previous biographer does fit into a British form of political paranoia that cropped up a lot in the Thatcher years, that the country had been turned into a puppet for the USA. The film itself is good, but not great: The revelations were obvious early on and McGregor’s ending action seems suicidally stupid.
HIRED GUN (2009) doesn’t fit the book either, though it does amuse me how it was able to fuse multiple Bogeymen into a single threat by having the Russian Mafia supply a neo-Nazi/Arab terrorist alliance with a nuke. That aside, unimpressive.
RED DAWN (1984) fits better than I expected since American pilot Powers Boothe emphasizes at one point that it was Cubans infiltrating SAC bases that somehow managed to keep us from detecting a Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan invasion until Too Late. Very much a product of its times with the use of Nicaraguans as attackers, and of course, the teen protagonists—Action Speaks Louder has a point that it’s The Breakfast Club Fight WW III—but surprisingly free of any political message beyond Gun Control Is Bad (in contrast to Invasion USA in 1951, with its heavyhanded directives on how to avoid being conquered). I can’t help wondering if the emphasis on male bonding is part of the appeal (the kind of film where hugging your friends and weeping when they die is proof of manliness), and what conservative fans make of commander Ron O’Neal equating the Wolverines with the Vietcong.
Patty Duke and Ted Bessel are TWO ON A BENCH (1971) which makes them suspects when the FBI spots a KGB courier on the same bench, resulting in their being confined together long enough to fall in love. This TV movie doesn’t qualify for the book, but works better than I expected thanks to Duke’s high-energy performance as the free spirit; Bessel is much less impressive as the uptight square.
FRANKENSTEIN (2004) has homicide detective Parker Posey discovers the serial-killer “the Surgeon” is one of the Homo superiors created by legendary surgeon Dr. Helios in order to supplant the human race, and agrees to work with prototype Vincent Perez (the original Frankenstein monster) to stop him. With Helios’ creations already infiltrating society, this clearly qualifies for my book, but I don’t feel bad that this pilot didn’t make it to series.
CRY PANIC (1974) is a TV movie in which John Forsythe tries to convince small-town sheriff Earl Holliman that he did so run down a man with his car, even if there’s no body, and Pretty Girl Anne Francis he was talking to never existed. A stock Lady Vanishes variant.
SHADOW ON THE LAND (1968) is the TV pilot set in a totalitarian future America where the protagonist works in the Internal Security Force while secretly helping the revolutionary Society of Man undermine the Leader; the plot concerns his efforts to thwart a terrorist attack that will justify a new crackdown, while keeping security chief John Forsythe from spotting his deceit. Interestingly, the opening lecture on how America grew complacent about its freedom is interchangeable with the message of Strange Holiday or Red Nightmare.
SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964) has military officer Kirk Douglas come to realize that his revered superior Burt Lancaster has gone from opposing a nuclear-disarmament treaty to actively plotting to overthrow the government to keep us strong. Too stiff and heavy-handed for my taste (though it does fit the book)—the nineties remake, Enemy Within, works much better.


Filed under Movies, Screen Enemies of the American Way

2 responses to “Movies watched For The Enemy Within

  1. Pingback: “You forgot you were dealing with Rambo” First Blood, Part II | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: A product of its storytelling time, but in a good way: V | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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