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Blu-ray Review: Criterion Updates Paranoia Classic ‘Seconds’

Chicago – John Frankenheimer’s “Seconds” with Rock Hudson was considered an unusual choice for The Criterion Collection when it was announced earlier this year. Never before available on Blu-ray and discontinued on DVD, the 4K restoration on this edition is the real draw, especially given that the film’s strength lies in its stunning visual compositions. With its canted angles and fish bowl aesthetic, Frankenheimer enhances what is actually a relatively weak script.

Seconds” is a film that I want to adore given my love for the filmmaker’s other works (especially “The Manchurian Candidate,” another ode to ’60s paranoia) and how I love well-written “Twilight Zone”-esque tales, but repeat viewing of this release reveals the film to be thematically thinner than it should be. There are some great ideas here about personality, success, and apathy but they’re not explored and the final twist is one that modern
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Criterion Collection: Seconds | Blu-ray Review

  • ioncinema
Selected for the Main Comp at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966, John Frankenheimer’s Seconds is a grim, nightmarish thriller that embodies many distinctive aspects of 1960s American cinema. Largely forgotten – one could argue for good reason – by all but the most devoted Frankenheimer fans, the film combines classic noir stylistics with the era’s emerging tremors of social revolution. Folded into the mix are elements of Sci-Fi and speculative fiction, creating a “what if” story filled with metaphors, meditations and mind-games.

The snappy plot begins with some odd occurrences in the quietly desperate life of Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a 50-ish, dry as toast bank manager who commutes into the city every day from his tidy colonial in leafy Scarsdale. Recently, the unnerved Hamilton has been receiving phone calls from an old college buddy long thought to be dead. This voice from the past entices Hamilton with vague promises
See full article at ioncinema »

Blu-ray Review: Seconds (Criterion Collection)

After watching John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966) for the first time with this Criterion Blu-ray, I couldn't help but think of several previous Criterion Blu-ray titles that came to mind. Films such as Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success, Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Robert Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly. You could even through in the feel of a Samuel Fuller film and even a little of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. For anyone that knows these films, that's pretty high praise and while Seconds may be better than a couple and below the others, the mere fact this film put me in the mood and mindset to even consider the comparisons is enough for me to say you really ought to give this one a look. Based on the novel by David Ely, I can't remember if Seconds ever gives us a definitive date in which it's set, but suffice
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Blu-ray Reviews: Criterion Releases John Frankenheimer's "Seconds" (1966) And Max Ophuls' "The Earrings Of Madame De..." (1953)

  • CinemaRetro
Seconds (The Criterion Collection)

The Earrings Of Madame De... (The Criterion Collection)

Scary Seconds And Jewel-laden Irony

By Raymond Benson

Among the new releases this month from The Criterion Collection, that Cadillac of Blu-Ray/DVD labels, are two oldies-but-goodies—and very different ones—that will impress both the average film lover and the hardcore art house enthusiast. For me, the most anticipated title was Seconds, the 1966 paranoia-science fiction-mystery-thriller directed by John Frankenheimer, and starring Rock Hudson in a cast-against-type role. There’s no question that the picture was ahead of its time. The circumstances sound familiar—it was a very intelligent, well-made, strikingly photographed genre movie that audiences found too strange or unpleasant, and it flopped... but later, because it really was good, it became a cult classic.

Seconds is a shocking film today; in 1966, it was radical. It was considered an “adults-only” movie, even though its release was prior
See full article at CinemaRetro »

Blu-ray, DVD Release: Seconds

  • Disc Dish
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 13, 2013

Price: DVD $29.99, Blu-ray $39.99

Studio: Criterion

Rock Hudson gets more than he bargained for when he embarks on a new life in Seconds.

Rock Hudson (All That Heaven Allows) star in Seconds, a sinister, science-fiction-inflected thriller from the fractured 1960s directed by John Frankenheimer (Grand Prix).

The 1966 film 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, even if the new you looks like, well, Rock Hudson.

This paranoiac movie filled with canted camera angles (courtesy of cinematographer James Wong Howe of Sweet Smell of Success), fragmented editing, and layered sound design is a remarkably risk-taking Hollywood film that ranks high on the list of its director’s major achievements.

The DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film
See full article at Disc Dish »

31 Days of Horror: ‘Seconds’ – one of the greatest psychological horror films ever made

Seconds

Directed by John Frankenheimer

Written by David Ely and Lewis John Carlino

1966, USA

Not for weak sisters! May not even be for strong stomachs!

John Frankenheimer’s ultimately terrifying Twilight Zone-like, futuristic thriller Seconds, received mixed reviews, and was critically panned at the Cannes Film Festival. But what do they know? Seconds is a chilling character study and a distressing examination of happiness, loneliness, consumerism, and the American dream. This paranoid take on the legend of Faust remains widely unseen. Thankfully repeated showings on late night television helped the film find a much deserved cult following.

A New York businessman Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is recruited by the services of an secret organization which provides unhappily married middle-aged businessmen with new lives. Arthur is told that with some highly evolved plastic surgery, physical reconditioning and a promise of a new career, he can become a young man again and begin a new life.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Rock Hudson Documentary Synopsis

Rock Hudson Rock Hudson: Dark And Handsome Stranger Documentary The synopsis below of Andrew Davies and Andre Shafer's Rock Hudson: Dark and Handsome Stranger is from the Berlin Film Festival website: Rock Hudson was a dream of a man; the epitome of masculinity: tall, slim and muscular, with a deep, mellifluous voice. His glossy black hair, sparkling eyes, high cheek bones and sensuous lips made Rock Hudson one of the sexiest film stars that Hollywood has ever produced. Twenty-five years ago, shortly before his sixtieth birthday, Rock Hudson died of Aids-related illnesses. He was the first Hollywood celebrity to succumb to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. But who was Rock Hudson really? This documentary sheds light on a famous actor star who performed a clandestine balancing act between his private and public lives; between the heterosexual world of an extremely manly looking screen idol and a darker side of forbidden
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Paul Wendkos obituary

Film and TV director made famous by his 'Gidget' surf movies

Despite a long and varied career, in which he made several excellent films noirs, westerns, thrillers and war dramas, and a fair number of superior television movies, it was the wry fate of the film and television director Paul Wendkos, who has died of a lung infection aged 87, that his death was announced widely with the words "Gidget director dies".

The popular teen surf movies – Gidget (1959), Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) – directed by Wendkos, are interesting documents of pre-hippy conservative California youth culture. Gidget, a contraction of girl and midget, is the nickname of a 16-year-old adolescent (played in succession by Sandra Dee, Deborah Walley and Cindy Carol) trying to cope with the problems of growing up, mainly defined by her relationship with her boyfriend, Moondoggie (James Darren).

According to the Variety review of
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Paul Wendkos obituary

Film and TV director made famous by his 'Gidget' surf movies

Despite a long and varied career, in which he made several excellent films noirs, westerns, thrillers and war dramas, and a fair number of superior television movies, it was the wry fate of the film and television director Paul Wendkos, who has died of a lung infection aged 87, that his death was announced widely with the words "Gidget director dies".

The popular teen surf movies – Gidget (1959), Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) and Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) – directed by Wendkos, are interesting documents of pre-hippy conservative California youth culture. Gidget, a contraction of girl and midget, is the nickname of a 16-year-old adolescent (played in succession by Sandra Dee, Deborah Walley and Cindy Carol) trying to cope with the problems of growing up, mainly defined by her relationship with her boyfriend, Moondoggie (James Darren).

According to the Variety review of
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Playing it Straight

While Sean Penn’s recent Best Actor Oscar win for Milk helped bring Harvey Milk’s message to a wide audience — both from the increased visibility of the film and from Penn’s moving acceptance speech — the occasion marked another instance of a Hollywood tradition: a gay character played by a heterosexual actor.

Penn, like Tom Hanks (Philadelphia [1993]) and William Hurt (Kiss of the Spider Woman [1985]) before him, was praised for his “bravery” for taking on the role and even — eek! — kissing another man.

Gay actors, on the other hand, get no such credit for playing gay roles; let’s not forget the year that Rupert Everett’s hilarious supporting turn in My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) was ignored by the Academy, with the implication that queer thespians need merely show up to play queer characters, with no actual acting involved. (To add insult to injury, that same year saw
See full article at The Backlot »

Film review: 'I'm Losing You'

Film review: 'I'm Losing You'
A Tinseltown family unravels in writer-director Bruce Wagner's feature debut, based on his well-regarded novel. Audiences are invited to share the pain of a father diagnosed with a terminal disease, a grown-up niece unlucky in love, and a wayward son in a shameful business. Unfortunately, "I'm Losing You" goes seriously astray in its downhill plunge.

Playing exclusively at Laemmle's Sunset 5 in West Hollywood and in New York, the Strand release of a Killer Films and Lions Gate Films production may show a little life on the art house circuit on its way to moderate success as a video rental.

Successful TV producer Perry Krohn (Frank Langella) has made millions off his "Star Trek"-like empire, but the doctor informs him he's got only months to live. At his birthday party, he keeps the dire news a secret from his successful single niece Rachel (Rosanna Arquette), whom he adopted as an infant, and sometime actor son Bertie (Andrew McCarthy).

Delaying the familial scenes of shared grief, Wagner profiles the cousins and their depressing lives. Bertie has so far refused to let his dad help his acting career and instead "sells short" the life insurance policies of AIDS patients, including one of Perry's loyal collaborators (Buck Henry). An appraiser at a tony auction house, Rachel pursues younger men and wonders about her past when she encounters someone who knew her parents, tragically killed in a car wreck ... or were they?

Perry's wife of many years, Diantha, (Salome Jens) has overlooked his unfaithfulness, and he rewards her by embarking on one last affair with the British star (Amanda Donohoe) of his TV show. Similarly attracted to smart, experienced women, Bertie attends an upbeat party of company town "H.I.V.I.P.'S" and meets wary Aubrey (Elizabeth Perkins). Of course he hides from her his reason for being there.

Piling on the melodrama, Bertie's ex-wife Lidia (Gina Gershon) is a druggie with a scary temper, and she proves to be irresponsible with their daughter. Things on this front get much worse, and the kind of overwhelming tragedy that would change everything happens too swiftly and inconsequentially in Wagner's progressively more unbelievable scenario, which includes a critical morgue scene that doesn't have the emotional wallop intended.

Laraine Newman appears briefly as the casting person who welcomes Bertie to Perry's on-screen family, while Rachel discovers the shocking truth about her parents and the role played by her uncle in events kept secret for decades. It all comes down hard on the Krohn tribe, but the viewer is doubly cursed with blase characters and routine filmmaking to go with the unnecessarily lurid and forgettably dreary material.

I'M LOSING YOU

Strand Releasing

Killer Films and Lions Gate Films

Writer-director: Bruce Wagner

Producers: Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon

Executive producers: David Cronenberg, Michael Paseornek

Director of photography: Rob Sweeney

Production designer: Richard Sherman

Editor: Janice Hampton

Costumes: Theadora Van Runkle

Music: Daniel Catan

Casting: Billy Hopkins, Suzanne Smith, Kerry Barden

Color/stereo

Cast:

Bertie: Andrew McCarthy

Rachel: Rosanna Arquette

Perry: Frank Langella

Diantha: Salome Jens

Philip: Buck Henry

Aubrey: Elizabeth Perkins

Lidia: Gina Gershon

Mona Deware: Amanda Donohoe

Running time -- 102 minutes

MPAA rating: R

See also

Credited With | External Sites