Seconds (1966) - Sci-Fi, Thriller

Hohum Score



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.

IMDB: 7.7
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella
Length: 106 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 23 out of 137 found boring (16.78%)

One-line Reviews (100)

Watch and learn how gripping cinema is done.

Anyone taking the first steps out of a customary life-style experiences similar confusion and fear.

This could had been a movie in the vain of some great paranoid thrillers, such as "Three Days Of The Condor", "Marathon Man" and John Frankheimer his own "The Manchurian Candidate", or a great, suspenseful, Hitchcock thriller.

It's slow as molasses, really shows its age at the hippie orgy, becomes intolerable at the drunken house party and only heats up for a very few minutes at the end.

The conclusion is totally unexpected.

James Wong Howe's cinematography is breathtaking; the 'Company' scenes are chillingly stark, while the infamous wine festival is soft focus.

Towards the end of the film however, it becomes predictable and rather silly.

Seconds goes slowly and unwinds its storyline heavily, overstating every dot in the plot.

Not one for the cheap thrills crowd, SECONDS instead is a minor classic in itself and worth watching for those who enjoy more psychological chills.

The movie starts off at a slow pace.

Throughout SECONDS themes of paranoia, identity, trust, isolation, and eternal youth are studied in a slow, sombre way.

By the end, we see Hudson coming to the realization that too much of his life has been spent chasing material things, a conclusion that just seems trite in view of the larger issues here.

Slow mover heavy on the psychological chills .

In Scarsdale, the bored banker Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is contacted by his former friend Charlie Evans that supposedly died several years ago giving information about a secret organization that offers for US$ 30,000.00 a second chance in life to wealthy people.

It has also been said that the completely unexpected impact of this film came about from the working relationship that existed between John Frankenheimer and James Wong Howe.

So when he gets a call from an old friend who he's heard has died, the possibilities are intriguing.

The main character's struggles to redefine himself, his agony over his wasted life, spent chasing things he was lead to believe would make his life complete, and the inevitable full circle return to the beginning that is forced upon him by "the company" made this a thought provoking and fascinating film to watch.

John Randolph plays Arthur Hamilton, a man bored with his life, who wants to escape it.

Very enjoyable paranoid sci-fi despite a rather weak middle section .

While the pace and cinematography might be a bit slow for a 21st century (instant gratification) audience, i was enamored with it.

Either way, this is a fascinating and terrifying film that delivers a powerful message about looking for happiness, fulfilment, and salvation in all the wrong places.

a chilling tale of utter defeat and more of a predictable tragedy than anything else, hudson's character discovers that no amount of external change or superficial alteration can make up for a life doomed to unhappiness by painful lucidity and self mistrust.

However, the midsection of the film lags and meanders, with extended sequences such as the hippy party and the other party dragging on for far too long.

The beginning is slow going but absorbing, and at the end it becomes fascinating and disturbing.

The weakness some users are complaining of -the lack of psychological depth - is intentional;and if some sequences may seem long,this length inspires their vital nightmarish side -the drunken revel ,the bacchanalian dance are so unexpected that they pack a real wallop.

The beginning is unbearably slow.

Indeed what makes SECONDS so coldly compelling is it's sheer matter-of-factness and feeling of reality, the way the story is filmed makes the premise seem plausible.

Opening with a very memorable and disturbing title sequence this film immediately launches us into the world of Arthur with a slight impression of a dreary old man who is soon pulled into The Company.

Intense, down-beat paranoid thriller .

) However, if a man leads a soulless existence, even the most attractive and wealthy one will feel empty.

I had to fast forward through some really obnoxiously loud and annoying scenes of his new life in the middle, otherwise it was pretty enjoyable.

While the cinematography is considered Academy Award quality, the overuse of special-lens shots is boring and burdensome.

) At first this black and white, somewhat boring start, and almost completely uninteresting flick, makes you want to tear your face off just for fun...

a very intriguing film, stylistically and thematically .

Seconds is a marginally interesting "make-over" film that, regardless of its high production values and excellent cinematography, suffers significantly from way-way too much talk-talk-talk (yawn) and just not enough worthwhile action to happily satisfy this ardent Sci-Fi/Thriller fan.

He's a dutiful husband and breadwinner, but he's also terminally bored with his life and wife.

From the nightmarish opening Saul Bass credit sequence to the stunning denouement, Seconds is a film that slowly crawls under your skin and stays there for days like an insect tick burrowing away.

Synopsis: Let down and bored by a stereotypical, suburb-living, Manhattan-working lifestyle, a 50-something business man decides to exchange his body, and thereby his entire life, for a new one.

But whether taken as a Faustian parable on middle- class discontent or not, it's still a riveting 100-minutes.

Once again, the camera movements are highly unstable, and the scene, overall, far too long.

Combined with its style, it comes off as a fairly gripping thriller; there is a sense of anxiety that permeates key scenes and keeps you wondering what will happen next.

' The first hour or so is gripping, stylistically elegant, and exquisitely shot--Frankenheimer creates an impression of sweaty paranoia from the very outset (with the help of mock-Buñuel credits by Saul Bass and a mock-Handel score by Jerry Goldsmith).

The stark black and white photography of James Wong Howe sets the dark and dreary mood of the story throughout.

Following a call from a supposedly dead friend, 50-something Arthur Hamilton leaves his usual dreary life and follows a message to a meat warehouse.

The mysterious nightmarish opening scenes lead one, intrigued into one of the most fascinating and interesting stories I have ever seen.

He's constantly on edge, expecting something to happen and Frankenheimer conveys this well: for example there's a hippy, wine-making scene where, as the dance gets more sexual and frenetic the camera-work grows more and more intense and claustrophobic as we're dragged down into the madness.

This was a really intriguing concept for a movie - a man offered to start his life again with his new identity, and the new one pulled out of his old memories of what he wanted to be.

  Fundamental values of American society -- love, friendship, loyalty, marriage, material wealth, Capitalism, business ethics, medical ethics, cosmetic surgery, art, and the cliche-ridden "American Dream" -- are called into question in a  cynical manner.

It is, of course, now academic whether the character played by John Randolph caused any confusion in the minds of cinema-goers who were also versed in Popular Song.

The friend offers him an opportunity to escape his ho-hum life and start a new one.

The second third is not quite as an intriguing, but it is still intense and it has a number of well done bits.

He'll have his death faked, get a new body after intensive plastic surgery and be set up as someone else far away.

While this sequence is significantly important to the understanding of the main characters, their thoughts, their ideas, and their behavior (a spiritual and personal releasing of the central character's concealed emotions and inner tensions) it's simply far too long, and at times confusing, due to the jerky camera movements (hand-held?

Despite a few slow parts, Seconds is a bold film with a bold style and a ton of bold messages.

Frankenheimer's use of low angle lens shooting fits in well with the theme of confusion and disillusionment with one's life.

Superb dialog, wonderful conception, fascinating story, unsettling photography, great acting--this film has too much going for it to be only a cult phenom for film students to drool over.

Deeply Disturbing Thriller, Honest, Compelling!.

She's sure a long way from the drab wife he's left behind.

The story is intriguing and original(based on the novel by David Ely).

The beginning and the end are gripping, in a Twilight Zone kind of way.

Reed's final scenes of the film were beautifully and eloquently articulated, and her emotions, while restrained, were catching, you could feel her sense of loss and confusion.

The 'grapes' scene was a time capsule of mid 1960s 'forced freedom', but it went on way too long.

The message was a tad too much in my face but I can live with that, as the movie was thoroughly enjoyable.

I loved this movie, and it had everything going for it - fine acting from not only Hudson but also John Randolph, Jeff Corey and Will Geer; masterful direction from John Frankenheimer; breathtaking camera-work courtesy of James Wong Howe.

There were little signs of confusion from the beginning, when Charlie's first phone call wasn't contained to us what it was, and too many logistics wasn't to be identified.

The opening credits and the story's conclusion are very memorable and the film does very good business off an interesting and intriguing set up and an interesting and chilling final 30 minutes.

The filming and editing of this movie as well as some of the performances are what make this worth watching.

Tony gets a new life but finds an empty existence inside him after he has left his wife and old comfortable surroundings.

A middle aged banker (John Randolph), inspired by a friend from his younger days (and who only speaks by phone), finds himself at a mysterious institution that returns older men to youthful times through surgery, and eliminates the older man's persona through a contrived death.

What a colossal bore.

It's VERY depressing, very downbeat and (at times) way too slow (the beginning).

The ending is one of the most stunning ones in American cinema history, for sure!

Rock Hudsons brief scene with Emily is so moving and at the same time unnerving that it by itself is worth watching the movie "Seconds".

So if SECONDS was such a fascinating, gripping, and spiritually significant film, why has it fallen into obscurity?

Rock Hudson as Antiochus "Tony" Wilson has offered an intense performance, especially after his revelations and conclusions.

Overall, Frankenheimer's unconventional foray into the Paranoid Thriller Genre is very memorable, and one of the more honest, deeply compelling films of it's time.

The ideas are fascinating in the first third of the film, which is both intriguing and intense.

Rock Hudson delivers an emotion-packed performance on the line of confusion, lonliness, enjoyment, and being terrified.

Intense and creepy "Twilight Zone" - ish drama with middle-aged businessman (Randolph) discovering a secret organization promising a "second" chance at life and after a successful operation awakens to be Hudson.

The main character sees his life as dull, stultifying, and completely unsatisfying.

"Seconds" is a fascinating and engrossing realistic fantasy tale that deals with the question of the identity and above all, the exploration of madness symbolized by the search of material happiness and the search of eternal youth which leads to the most claustrophobic fate.

Fascinating Hitchcock-type of film...

A man (played by once blacklisted actor John Randolph) with a successful but empty life accepts the mysterious offer of a way to break free.

This stunning mix of sci-fi and thriller was never likely to attain the audience it deserved.

This Frankenheimer work encapsulates the ennui and confusion of the sixties, especially the chasm between the 50's generation, and the generation of the 60's, who were just joining the scene.

(Think David Lynch's "Eraserhead)The films score adds a hypnotic edge to the fascinating tale that unfolds.

That along with the involvement a director at the height of his powers makes it intriguing viewing.

And I enjoyed it.

The film's commencing images of Authur's distorted/warping face, accompanied by Goldsmith's dark, piercing score gives the viewer a sense of confusion, of not knowing exactly just what is happening, and a lingering air of dread and disgust.

Rock Hudson may be best known for his romantic roles, but his own favourite of his performances was reportedly the starring role in John Frankenheimer's thrilling Seconds.

This was indeed pretty intriguing and thrilling cinema and for that I'd like to compliment everyone involved.

As I walked out of the theater, I had two strong feelings:1.

The final minutes of the film are truly excruciating upon revealing the ultimate fate of those who wished to flee their dull lives...

He eventually makes his way to the Company, an organization which promises to give him a completely new appearance and identity, PLUS the sort of exciting life he dreams of.

A fascinating premise is well executed for the most part, although it tends to drag in the middle.

Seconds is a brilliantly compelling and thought-provoking thriller with an interesting theme.

The rest is well worth watching.

A paranoid thriller that is both visually stunning - thanks to director John Frankenheimer - and highly suspenseful - thanks to its Twilight Zone-esque narrative and social commentary on modern medicine, Seconds is a landmark cinematic achievement.

Director John Frankenheimer relates the gripping story at a deliberate pace, grounds the fantastic premise in a thoroughly plausible workaday reality, and skillfully crafts a strong and unsettling paranoid atmosphere.

James Wong Howe, whose previous work include Hud, Sweet Smell of Success, and Yankee Doodle Dandy, goes above and beyond, making the film exciting to watch and hard to look away from.