Agency – Subliminal Cinema and Dirty Politics

AGENCY (1980) aka Mind Games
Dir. George Kaczender
Wr. Noel Hynd

SEEING THE MOVIES. Symbolism and Messaging in the Movies.
Mind Control / Dirty Politics

A Creative Director (Lee Majors) at a big advertising agency uncovers the hush-hush projects masterminded by agency owner (Robert Michum) that use subliminal messaging to influence the outcome of political elections. “I retired the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” he brags.

Even to goody-goody Majors, inserting propaganda and hidden messaging into their commercials is just another day at the office, “Some of us put phallic images in perfume commercials and others hide lewd photographs in cigarette ads.” But he develops a conscience when it comes to politics and still can’t stomach the manipulation even when Michum tries to reason with him, “The public wants to be led, it needs to be led.” Sounds familiar.

When we finally see the subliminal tape that helped win an election, it is filled with sounds of screaming, babies crying, Hitler speeches and visuals of sex and depravity. It’s interesting how today, subliminal tapes are probably much dispensed with and instead detractors just make the same bold accusations without any proof. The brainwashing techniques of today rely on complicit media and repetition.

Agency would make a quaint, fun film for the propagandists of today, and though the techniques used in the film are known to work, it was a very little seen movie and did little to nothing at the box office on its original release.