Just saw “Manchurian Candidate” on video over the weekend – great movie! – and the Janet Leigh character, Eugenie Rose Chaney, the love interest of Major Marko (Sinatra’s character), totally perplexed me.
At first I thought she was the Chinese brainwashing expert as seen through Marko’s conditioning. If she was what she claimed to be, what was the point of one of her first statements, “I was one of the original Chinese workmen who laid the tracks on this stretch.”?* If it’s a joke, I don’t get it, and I doubt it made any more sense in 1962. She had the same punning sense of humor as the brainwasher – the “railroad line” pun and the running George Washington/Washington DC joke in the taxi.
But for the rest of the picture, she was a straight-up love interest who didn’t participate at all in the action of the movie, and didn’t inhibit Marko in doing his job, which she would have if she were the brainwasher or the American “operator”.
Anyone have any ideas on this? Enlighten me, if you can. Or confuse me even more.
*Even if “she” was the Chinese brainwashing expert, that can’t be true, because the railway they were on was clearly the Pennsylvania Railroad line from Washington to New York – what’s now the Northeast Corridor – and Chinese workers built the Western railways, not the Eastern lines.