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* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: In the 1962 film, Janet Leigh's character of Rosie (the LoveInterest) meets Marco on the train and they have a [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment singularly bizarre conversation]]. Later she bails him out of jail and through a shorter but just as weird conversation we learn that she's left her fiancee for him despite only meeting him once. Then she has no impact on the rest of the movie at all other than to [[MsFanservice fill out some dresses]] very nicely. The very odd nature of Rosie and Marco's meeting and the general uselessness of her character have led some, including RogerEbert, to theorize that she's a Chinese agent sent to keep an eye on Marco. Others guess that she's actually an American agent investigating the conspiracy, as [[spoiler: Creator/JonathanDemme did with the character in the 2004 remake.]]
** WordOfGod (John Frankenheimer) said on the DVD commentary that the scene in question came straight from the book and he had no idea what that bizarre conversation meant.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: From the remake, Marco's breakdown on the train is basically a triple play of these.
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* JerkassWoobie: Raymond Shaw, especially in the 1962 film. Quite the {{Jerkass}}, but what happens to him is awful.
* MagnificentBastard: ''Eleanor Iselin''. People who know Creator/AngelaLansbury from ''MurderSheWrote'' would be surprised to watch this movie.
* MemeticMutation: "Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known." It even got referenced in ''AVeryPotterMusical''.
* NightmareFuel:
** A graphic depiction of a murder by asphyxiation with plastic wrap in the 2004 film. The victim gags and vomits while his eyes bulge and he claws desperately at his assailant, all to no avail.
** Creator/AngelaLansbury's performance in the original. Lady Macbeth is less evil. Then MerylStreep went and topped it!
* ParanoiaFuel: The 2004 remake.
* ProtagonistTitleFallacy: In the novel and first film, the Manchurian Candidate is Senator John Iselin, a ''villain'' who is Mrs. Iselin's husband, confidante, and pawn. The 2004 film puts its own twist on this, referring to a corporation called Manchurian Global.
* UncannyValley: The animated video used to brainwash the subjects in the 2004 film is just realistic enough to raise the hackles.

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