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The Manchurian Candidate (movie)

A new era of secrets and spies in Hollywood

A new era of secrets and spies in Hollywood

There is a scene that bookends "No Way Out," the 1987 espionage thriller starring Kevin Costner. He's a naval officer, a hero, being interrogated about the murder of the secretary of Defense's mistress. There are hints that he might be a double agent. You don't know who is behind the glass watching the grilling. As the film unfolds, he seduces the mistress and is hired by her lover, an icy Gene Hackman. The "is he or isn't he?" question keeps the tension high. Finally, a door opens, we see the face behind the glass and all the puzzle pieces snap into place.

That moment, or one like it, can be found in nearly every spy film. Indeed, "No Way Out" was a...