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Seconds (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

Rock Hudson , Salome Jens , John Frankenheimer    R (Restricted)   Blu-ray
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 42.99
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Product Details

Product Description


Rock Hudson stars in this unsettling look at second chances. Banker Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) lives a comfortable, stifling life until he is contacted by a mysterious caller offering "what every middle-aged man wants: complete freedom." Hamilton, with the help of an enigmatic corporation, fakes his own death and starts over in his new swinging-bachelor persona (now played by Rock Hudson). A change of life, though, is not just a change of scenery, and Seconds, for all its thriller aspects, contains some sad and disturbing meditations on the way we make our own prisons. Director John Frankenheimer uses skewed angles, bizarre close-ups, and fisheye lenses to underscore the film's off-kilter tension, and Rock Hudson gives a performance that is light-years removed from Pillow Talk. Well worth watching twice. --Ali Davis

Special Features

special edition features, new 4k digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the blu-ray edition, audio commentary featuring director john frankenheimer, actor alec baldwin on frankenheimer and seconds, new program on the making of seconds, featuring interviews with evans frankenheimer, the director�s widow, and actor salome jens, interview with frankenheimer from 1971,new visual essay by film scholars r. Barton palmer and murray pomerance, plus: an essay by critic david sterritt

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Seconds is probably the trippiest film you're likely to see. It stars Rock Hudson as Tony, a "reborn" of John Randolph (one of the actors blacklisted under McCarthy). It's ostensibly about this guy in a midlife crisis who is forced into this super secret organization that creates second lives for people by giving them new identities. This film hit so close to home for Rock he nearly broke down during filming.
At first glance the second chance at life looks great. A new identity, a house on the beach, and a beautiful new girlfriend in the seemingly hippyish Nora (Salome Jens). Then things go downhill and into a nightmarish realm. Really the whole film is a surreal nightmare, from the meat packing district to Randolph being drugged to out-of-proportion camera lenses and strange angles. And especially inside the reborn offices; what happens there is utterly otherworldly. Filmed in black and white this captures an experiment in surrealism that a major director wouldn't dare attempt today. And like all great '60s films this has a '60s feel and atmosphere to it. Especially when Nora and Tony go to a hippy festival, though Tony feels out of place there; after all he was formerly a square banker.
When Beach Boy Brian Wilson saw this film when it was released in 1966 he literally went insane. He believed Phil Spector was beaming him secret messages through the film to sabotage his career (the main character's last name was Wilson which may have added to his paranoia). But for a relatively healthy viewer it won't drive you insane...but it'll definitely have an effect on you.
If one had to pin down what this film is a metaphor for, it would have to be the old alienation of modern society theme, but here with an intense sci-fi-like twist. A must for all Frankenheimer fans, Rock Hudson fans, and/or '60s afficionados.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seconds Feb. 8 2004
Perhaps the most unknown and under appreciated American film of all time. John Frankenheimer at his edgiest and most paranoid. Rock Hudson is brilliantly cast as the young reincarnation of a middle-aged man who under goes surgery to regain his youth. A film truly ahead of its time and an inspiration to filmmakers everywhere. Story is told brilliantly with some of the most inventive camera work ever!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Disturbing Mid-Life Crisis Aug. 20 2003
By Echo
Without question, "Seconds" is a disturbing and unique film. It's odd, unclassifiable, and not easily forgettable. It is also one of the few films that will upset you with each subsequent viewing. The passing of John Hamilton gives me pause to reflect on this underrated films - one of the best dramas of the mid-1960s, and one of the best psychological thrillers ever put to film.
John Randolph is Arthur Hamilton, a man haunted by the thought of life passing him by. Arthur is brought to a strange agency, and is given a unique opportunity: the agency will erase Arthur's old persona via a convenient faked death, perform plastic surgery, and give him a new life as a "second". Rock Hudson plays Tony Wilson, his post-surgery "second" persona. In his new "second" identity, Tony learns that a new body and new identity don't address his need for individuality. Tony never lets go of his supreme self-centeredness, which eventually leads to his downfall.
The film settles in the pit of your stomach with several strange and unsettling scenes. At the agency, he meets a friend who has something on his mind...he seems very intent that Arthur adopts a "second" identity. When Tony awakes from surgery he is bandaged, and is told not to talk because his teeth have been removed. As he recovers, he is given a strange personality and occupational aptitude battery (I have never trusted these after seeing this movie!) Eventually After having too much to drink, he realizes all of his friends are fellow "seconds". Tony visits his wife, who think's he's dead. The gravity of Arthur/Tony's choice is clear; he can never go back. Eventually Tony returns to the agency, and is asked to suggest fellow clients...he never realizes the danger of not ponying up a new candidate. And the final scene...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Time Capsule of Terror July 23 2003
The core concept of this film has special relevance almost 40 years after its initial release, given recent developments in genetic engineering: Recycling of human beings, whole or in parts. As I again watched it, I thought about several themes which have intrigued man throughout history, such as eternal youth (e.g. the fountain of youth) and unholy pacts (e.g. in the Garden of Eden and, later, Dr. Faust). Dissatisfied with his life, Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) presents himself to The Company and agrees (for a substantial fee) to become a different person and have a lifestyle about which he has obviously fantasized for many years. After extensive surgery, he becomes Antiochus ("Tony") Wilson (Rock Hudson), twenty years younger, strikingly handsome, physically fit, and living what is for many males an idealized bachelor's life. He seems to have everything Hamilton once desired and yet....
This is among the subtlest but also one of the most frightening of films. To say more about its plot would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen it. Suffice to say that, under the brilliant direction of John Frankenheimer, the cast plays out what becomes a horror story of almost unbearable impact. My opinion is that Hudson's performance is his strongest throughout a lengthy film career. Will Geer appears briefly but memorably, as do others in a diverse cast which includes Murray Hamilton, Jeff Corey, Richard Anderson, and Salome Jens. Also noteworthy is James Wong Howe's cinematography which nourishes, indeed intensifies the gradually-increasing sense of terror as Wilson attempts without success to re-negotiate the terms and conditions of his surgically-enhanced life. Whenever I recall the final scene, I shudder despite the fact that I have seen this film several times and know that it is "only a movie."
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Expected more from Criterion
5 stars for the movie, 3 stars overall for Criterion.

Seconds has always been one of my favourite Sci-Fi films. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eddy B
5.0 out of 5 stars CRITERION!
So the Criterion studios does it again! This great film directed by Frankenheimer is presented in a never before seen HD quality! Read more
Published 12 months ago by sam
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scarcity of "SECONDS"
Though still listed in Leonard Maltin's 2006 Movie Guide, by his 2011 edition, John Frankenheimer's 1966 film classic "SECONDS" is missing altogether. Why?! How come?! Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2012 by Henry Sum
4.0 out of 5 stars A cult classic deserving of more attention
Director John Frankenheimer, cinematographer James Wong Howe, and composer Jerry Goldsmith have each produced a body of outstanding work. Read more
Published on April 29 2003 by Richard E. "Nick" Noble
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lost, Yet Disturbing Cult Classic...
Originally released in 1966, nobody saw a video release until 1996, 30 years later. I had some of the disturbing images of beautiful cinematography roaming through my thoughts when... Read more
Published on April 13 2003 by Stephen Olinsky
5.0 out of 5 stars SECONDS
A movie that is true to life in how many people probably really feel about their own lives...Very haunting and disturbing...DON'T miss this movie! Read more
Published on March 14 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Buying
For anyone who's fascinated by overlooked gems, this is the film for you. Disturbing and eery from the opening credits montage to the final ambiguous scene. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2002 by Harvey Pekar
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting chiller
This haunting chiller qualifies as director John Frankenheimer's best film. John Randolph plays a middle aged businessman who is given the chance to start is life all over again. Read more
Published on Nov. 15 2002 by Wayne Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unexamined Life
About 5 years ago, at my health club, a bunch of us got to talking about movies, and some guy I barely knew grabbed me by both collars of my shirt and said, "You HAVE to see this... Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by P. Miller
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