Middle-aged banker Arthur Hamilton is given the opportunity to start a completely new life when he receives calls from his old friend Charlie. The only problem is that Charlie is supposed to be dead. Hamilton is eventually introduced to a firm that will fake his death and create an entirely new look and life for him. After undergoing physical reconstruction surgery and months of training and psychotherapy, Hamilton returns to the world in the form of artist Tony Wilson. He has a nice house in Malibu and a manservant, a company employee who is there to assist him with his adjustment. He finds that the life he had hoped for isn't quite what he expected and asks the company to go through the process with surprising results.Written by
Beach Boys composer Brian Wilson saw the movie in a theater during its first run. Overworked and showing signs of a breakdown, Wilson both liked the theme of the movie (changing identities and starting over), and found its downside disturbing. He wondered later if musical rival Phil Spector had somehow convinced Columbia Pictures to produce the movie, just "to mess with my mind". See more »
Davalo's hand on the tape recorder disappears between shots. See more »
Man in Station:
[Man in train station hands Hamilton a folded sheet of paper and turns to walk away; Hamilton stares after him, then opens the folded paper to find an address, with no explanation]
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Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is a middle-aged man. He has a nothing job and feels he has no purpose or direction in life. He can't even make love to his wife anymore. He is offered a new life by the Company--a secret organization. They will "kill" off Arthur and give him a new face, a new body and a new identity. He comes back as Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson). However, can he be happy in his new life?
Exceptional black and white cinematography by James Wong Howe; great direction by John Frankenheimer (all the extreme closeups and off kilter camera angles keep you uneasy); a perfect score by Jerry Goldsmith (the organ fits perfectly)...but this is almost unwatchable.
It's VERY depressing, very downbeat and (at times) way too slow (the beginning). It's easy to see why this was a box office bomb--it's way too depressing for the average viewer. The things I mentioned above help make the film bearable as does the acting.
Randolph is superb as Hamilton--you feel his pain and misery. Hudson, surprisingly, is pretty good. Sometimes he's not that good but there are certain sequences when he's exceptional--particularly at a wine party, a cocktail party (where he actually got drunk to play it realistically) and he explodes during the harrowing ending. The ending is one of the most horrific sequences I've ever seen. I felt like bolting from the theatre.
A one-of-kind horror thriller. I can't say I enjoyed this, but I'll never forget it. It has a big deserved cult following.
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