On Tuesday, September 20, 2022, Professor Solomon presented a 20-minute audiovisual essay, "Turning Up the Red Queen: Playing Cards in The Manchurian Candidate (1962)," at the online conference The Manchurian Candidate@60, hosted by the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
Playing cards are crucial props in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate, just as they are in Richard Condon’s eponymous 1959 novel. This dynamic multimedia presentation explores the place of playing cards in the narrative and the mise-en-scène of the film as both material and symbolic objects. Acknowledging that playing cards are freighted with cultural significance that has accrued for centuries, the presentation historicizes and contextualizes specific playing cards in The Manchurian Candidate while offering comparisons with films like The Living Playing Cards (1905), The Queen of Spades (1916), and Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962). The presentation pays special attention to scenes in The Manchurian Candidate in which playing cards are handled and scenes in which different-sized versions of playing cards (and their approximations) are seen.