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4.6 out of 5 stars
Seconds
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on July 7, 2015
Excellent movie!
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Not surprisingly this movie did not do well at the box office when it was released in 1966.

It is in no way a typical Rock Hudson film - likely the only movie where he was not cast solely for his looks.

It is a dark and disturbing story that will not appeal to everyone but so well directed with outstanding music and cinematography that it is hard not to be drawn into the story regardless of any trepidation on your part.

If you have ever felt dissatisfied with your life and wondered if it could be different maybe ......
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon July 16, 2014
5 stars for the movie, 3 stars overall for Criterion.

Seconds has always been one of my favourite Sci-Fi films. This Criterion release has me once again asking myself, does Criterion really fulfill their statement on the back cover, "... with supplemental features that enhance the appreciation of the art of film". Yes, there are great supplemental features on this release, but one important one was left off, the theatrical trailer. I'm film fan that strongly believes if a theatrical trailer is available it should be on the film's digital release because it is a part of the movie's history. Why Criterion left off Second's trailer, and it is without a doubt one of the best trailers I have ever seen for a film and was on the Paramount DVD release, puzzles me. Come on Criterion, for the price you want consumers to pay for your product, give us a more complete package.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2013
So the Criterion studios does it again! This great film directed by Frankenheimer is presented in a never before seen HD quality! The packaging is first class and Amazon delivers yet again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2012
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?! Something is terribly wrong with Mr Maltin's judgment here. It has been my experience in the last few years that there have been other very mysteriously missing components to Links, YouTube Sites and Movies. It was dismaying once again to discover a truncated ending to John Frankenheimer's 1966 production of "SECONDS". As the very brusque Dr Morris (Karl Swenson) laments over the head of the heavily tranquilized "Tony Wilson" (Rock Hudson)--"You were one of my finest creations"--then directs an enormous power-drill into the "lower lobotomal portion" of his skull; the next parting scene to the whole movie depicts a dream-like memory of a father and son silhouetted on a beach. What is wholly missing in my recently acquired DVD version of the movie is the child crying out for a balloon which has slipped from his fingers. This balloon ties in to the memory regression tape recordings administered upon Tony Wilson by perhaps the most diabolical of almost all supporting cast actors ever introduced in movies: Khigh Dhiegh. Portraying the "Reborns" Company psychiatrist, "Davalo", he plays for the newly operated upon Tony some tape recordings of Tony in tranquilized regression speaking about his early desires and ambitions. The first recording which Davalo plays and dismisses as too early in Tony's life has him reminiscing about "wanting a red balloon". Apart from a following reminiscence about wishing to be a tennis pro and watercolorist, it is this early childhood desire for a balloon in the original sketchy ending which may have been have been one of the happiest events in Tony's life. Understandably open to speculation but it may further explain the movie's title, i.e., Tony was only happy in his brief life for a few "SECONDS".(?) The absence of this vital component suggests to me that films undergo as much cutting and re-cutting as bricks of cocaine. Despite the overwhelming premium price that I paid for this DVD copy ($39.99, Cdn) through Amazon, I am grateful nonetheless to have scarce ownership of this film classic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2003
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2003
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...I won't spoil it, but you'll feel cold afterwards.
Hudson is brilliantly and presciently cast, as it was made before his sexuality was common knowledge. It's little wonder that "Seconds" is recognized as Hudson's best work. John Randolph as the gray, depressed Arthur Hamilton is overshadowed by Hudson, but his understated performance is critical to the Hudson's portrayal as Hamilton's "second" chance. Never a great actor, Murray Hamilton is at his best as a frightened agency client - we know why he's nervous, but wonder why Arthur can't see it. Will Geer is eerie and unforgettable as the agency's patriarch, who waxes philosophical with his failed clients. Frankenheimer's work is brilliant. "Seconds" takes a toll on it's viewers, and I find that I have to steel myself to watch this great film again. Strongly recommended.
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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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on April 29, 2003
Director John Frankenheimer, cinematographer James Wong Howe, and composer Jerry Goldsmith have each produced a body of outstanding work. Likewise the terrific supporting cast (Will Geer, Jeff Corey, John Randolph) have given many impressive performances over many years. So it is no surprise that, when they come together with SECONDS, they create something special. What is a surprise is the powerful performance by the much-maligned Rock Hudson. It is searingly effective in its focused intensity-- certainly among his finest work.
Interestingly, at the time he was too popular a "star", with a recent spate of successful if insubstantial romantic comedies to his credit. No one felt it believable that John Randolph could be transformed into this familiar celebrity. Now, with Hudson's face and figure much less familiar to new generations of filmgoers, this concern is somewhat alleviated, and his performance can be valued on its substance.
At the same time, with our fuller knowledge of Hudson's personal life and tragic death, his ability to portray a man leading what is essentially a double life is far less surprising. He brings to the role a scorching insight and personal perspective that is both pointed and poignant, and in the end degenerates convincingly into desperate fear and rage.
As the adjectives used above would indicate, this is not a "nice" film. There is no happy ending to this story that transcends genre to speak to the dark places in all of our souls.
SECONDS has become something of a cult classic. While this is understandable, it is deserving of more attention than that. It has its flaws, but its impact goes beyond nit-picking. If you have not seen it and you can handle something far more intense than the usual fluff, check it out.
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