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
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 »
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 »
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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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 »
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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