7.7/10
13,617
137 user 123 critic
An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Lewis John Carlino (screenplay), David Ely (based on the novel by)
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ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Campanella Frank Campanella ... Man in Station
John Randolph ... Arthur Hamilton
Frances Reid ... Emily Hamilton
Barbara Werle ... Secretary
Edgar Stehli Edgar Stehli ... Tailor Shop Presser
Aaron Magidow Aaron Magidow ... Meat Man
De De Young De De Young ... Nurse
Françoise Ruggieri Françoise Ruggieri ... Girl in Boudoir
Murray Hamilton ... Charlie
Thom Conroy Thom Conroy ... Dayroom Attendant
Jeff Corey ... Mr. Ruby
Will Geer ... Old Man
Richard Anderson ... Dr. Innes
Rock Hudson ... Antiochus Wilson
Khigh Dhiegh Khigh Dhiegh ... Davalo
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What Are Seconds?... The Answer May Be Too Terrifying For Words! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 1966 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann, der zweimal lebte See more »

Filming Locations:

Malibu, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release: 1996)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this film is nowadays viewed as a cult classic, European critics at the Cannes Film Festival were so hostile to the film that director John Frankenheimer refused to leave nearby Monte Carlo, where he was shooting Grand Prix (1966), for the press conference. Rock Hudson was sent instead and was unable to answer the critical questions during the hostile session. See more »

Goofs

When Tony is on the airplane on his way to Malibu he is offered a pillow which he places behind his head. The pillow then disappears and reappears in the next few seconds. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Man in Station: Mr. Hamilton?
Arthur Hamilton: Yes?
[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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Alternate Versions

The re-released version in 1996 (originally debuting on laserdisc) restores various shots of nudity to the "orgy" sequence involving crushing wine grapes. This was how John Frankenheimer originally shot the scene but the MPAA refused to allow the nudity to pass so the theatrical release was re-edited to remove all nude shots. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: Face/Off (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Is Just around the Corner
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Lewis E. Gensler
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Played at the party
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
the best midlife crisis film
16 March 2004 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

Midlife crisis films are rare beasts, but everybody loves them. Look at the success of "American Beauty," probably the most stereotypical depiction of middle-class America that I've ever seen. Quite shallow in its way, "Beauty" was a hit because of its subject matter - it tackled some taboos and had the nerve to portray the problems of "ordinary" people. But you know what - it had been done before, and better, here.

"Seconds" is the story of a middle-aged banker who undergoes surgery to become - this part is really a gas - Rock Hudson! He's given an outlet to escape from his loveless family life and tedious job, and he becomes a swinging painter/playboy with a beautiful house on the coast. Of course, he soon finds that good looks and money are no substitute for what he really wants - some kind of genuine intimacy in his life.

Is this message a bit too predictable? Oh, I dunno - we all seem to agree that the pursuit of wealth is an empty one, yet we indulge in it all the same. The social problems explored in "Seconds" are still very much with us, and our awareness of these problems certainly hasn't solved them. The film ultimately acts as a powerful, sobering reminder that most of us aren't doing what we really want to do.

Plenty of great style on display here from director Frankenheimer. There's a wonderful "wobbly camera" drunk scene that is so realistic, you'll feel as though you've been hitting the bottle yourself. There's also consistent effective use of point-of-view shots and unusual angles. In terms of subject matter and directorial flair, this film is incredibly innovative...it's taken years for us to catch up to this kind of material, and yet we still haven't topped it. Definitely in my top twenty.


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