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Bennett Marco can’t help but describe his commanding officer as the “bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being” he’s ever known—but there’s something about that recurring nightmare in which the loveable Sarge coldly murders two of his own men that has him thinking differently. It’s through such surreal images of brainwashed GIs, anti-Communist hysteria, and social tension that John Frankenheimer’s 1962 psychological thriller The Manchurian Candidate (based on Richard Condon’s novel) captures the paranoia of Cold War America. Yet by Hollywood standards of the ’60s, the film’s political-conspiracy themes were startlingly (and prophetically) ahead of their time. That star Frank Sinatra had the film withheld from distribution for nearly 25 years after the assassination of President Kennedy only adds to its legitimacy as perhaps the most significant cinematic commentary on the era’s paranoia. The Manchurian Candidate screens at 7 p.m. (if you get there early, you can always pass the time by playing a little solitaire) at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Matthew Borlik)