Seconds (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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rock hudson (all that heaven allows) is a revelation in this sinister, science-fiction-inflected dispatch from the fractured 1960s. Seconds, directed by john frankenheimer (the manchurian candidate), concerns a middle-aged businessman dissatisfied with his suburban existence, who elects to undergo a strange and elaborate procedure that will grant him a new life. Starting over in america, however, is not as easy as it sounds. This paranoiac symphony of canted camera angles (courtesy of famed cinematographer james wong howe), fragmented editing, and layered sound design is a remarkably risk-taking hollywood film that ranks high on the list of its legendary director�s major achievements. 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 //
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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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.
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...Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read more
5 stars for the movie, 3 stars overall for Criterion.
Seconds has always been one of my favourite Sci-Fi films. Read more
So the Criterion studios does it again! This great film directed by Frankenheimer is presented in a never before seen HD quality! Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2013 by sam
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... Read morePublished on July 23 2003 by Robert Morris
Director John Frankenheimer, cinematographer James Wong Howe, and composer Jerry Goldsmith have each produced a body of outstanding work. Read morePublished on April 29 2003 by Richard E. "Nick" Noble
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 morePublished on April 13 2003 by Stephen Olinsky
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 morePublished on March 14 2003