The Berlin Nominee

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The Berlin Nominee was a 1959 novel by Rhoberth Condon, later adapted into motion pictures in 1965 and again in 2003.

The central tenet of the novel is that the son of a prominent political family in the North American League was captured and brainwashed. He then becomes the unwilling tool of a secret society.

Plot Summary

Liam MacGregor is a pilot who becomes a POW but escapes with several others in the final days of the Second Great War. Ultimately awarded the Parliamentary Medal of Honor, he is pressured by his father--a powerful Senator from New Scotland--into running for office. But a fellow escapee, Marcus Bennett, puts together the truth based on the troubled dreams all of the former prisoners have experienced. A clique of aristocrats in Prussia arranged for the so-called escape, using drugs and hypnosis to turn MacGregor into a puppet. Actually, he's being set up as a possible candidate for the General Moderatorship following the assassination of his father. Bennett manages to foil the plot by catching the assassin and triggering the "code words" which activate MacGregor.

Film Adaptations

The 1965 version was in black & white, produced by Commonwealth Artists and diverged from the novel in several respects. Most notably, the characters of the MacGregor family (which so resembled that of the O'Kinneides) were made much more "generic" and less inherently sinister. More disturbingly, the fictional GM who is ready to take office at the film's end is hinted to be also in cahoots with the original conspirators.

The 2003 version is more faithful in that respect to the novel, although updating the action to the Florida War and changing the conspirators to a cadre of corrupt businessmen from Louisianne (who maintain a secret medical facility in the fictional town of New Berlin).

Social Impact

The term "Berlin Nominee" has come to be associated with various conspiracy theories as well as a generally paranoid mind-set. Not surprisingly, the film was re-released to considerable business (and controversy) in the wake of the Assassination of James Wainwright. It won praise and condemnation from members of the Anti-Snorist Movement as well as protests from the government of Prussia. The remake likewise was viewed poorly by the government in Louisianne.

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