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4.6 out of 5 stars45
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 22 September 2015
Rock Hudson shows in this movie he can really act. He may have been a terrible actor to start with, it was his looks not talent that got him into the movies but by this point he had developed into a very capable performer. The director John Frankenheimer apparently believed the film to be deeply flawed at least in the second half but I would disagree it is brilliant all the way through. If you have never seen this film then believe me you are in for a treat. The film bombed on release as was considered too depressing for mainstream films of that era and Hudson played against type which alienated his usual audience. It's failure apparently put an end to Hudson's hopes of being considered a 'serious actor' as opposed to a movie star, he never again exposed himself in such raw fashion. It's reputation has grown with the passage of time and many of it's themes are perhaps more relevant in today's world than at the time it was made. I have the Criterion bluray and the picture quality is great. MoC are known for their high quality releases so this release should be equally good. Get it if you love cinema.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 26 September 2005
The core concept of this film has special relevance more than 40 years after its initial release, given recent developments in genetic engineering: Recycling of human beings, whole or in parts. As I again watched it, I thought about several themes which have intrigued man throughout history, such as eternal youth (e.g. the fountain of youth) and unholy pacts (e.g. in the Garden of Eden and, later, Dr. Faust). Dissatisfied with his life, Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) presents himself to The Company and agrees (for a substantial fee) to become a different person and have a lifestyle about which he has obviously fantasized for many years. After extensive surgery, he becomes Antiochus ("Tony") Wilson (Rock Hudson), twenty years younger, strikingly handsome, physically fit, and living what is for many males an idealized bachelor's life. He seems to have everything Hamilton once desired and yet....
This is among the subtlest but also one of the most frightening of films. To say more about its plot would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen it. Suffice to say that, under the brilliant direction of John Frankenheimer, the cast plays out what becomes a horror story of almost unbearable impact. My opinion is that Hudson's performance is his strongest throughout a lengthy film career. Will Geer appears briefly but memorably, as do others in a diverse cast which includes Murray Hamilton, Jeff Corey, Richard Anderson, and Salome Jens. Also noteworthy is James Wong Howe's cinematography which nourishes, indeed intensifies the gradually-increasing sense of terror as Wilson attempts without success to re-negotiate the terms and conditions of his surgically-enhanced life. Whenever I recall the final scene, I shudder despite the fact that I have seen this film several times and know that it is "only a movie."
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on 16 May 2013
Absolutely don't miss it. It's a nightmare that don't let you breath troughout the all movie. Some scenes are shot in a way I think nobody even saw before. A movie from the mid sixties that still appears so contemporary. A brilliant mix of surreal moments and documentary-style scenes. I didn't give it 5 stars just because it turns out to be a little too circumlocutory and somehow boring, since you expect some development in the plot, whereas it gets to a point where you realize it won't go further. A little going around in circles. But still a fantastic experiment. You don't expect to see Rock Hudson starring in such an anti-hollywoodian and anti-mainstream movie. But it seems that in those years, movie producers where far more brave and maverick than in the last 20 years.
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on 18 October 2007
And what if someone gave it to you? Would you be happy?

A stunning movie, and genuinely disturbing. What cinema is all about. Imagine "It's a Wonderful Life" but through a glass darkly. Very darkly. At the end we get a glimpse of what deep down the hero really wanted, and for me it is one of the most moving moments in cinema.

They were talking about re-making this (like they re-made Frankenheimer's companion film "The Manchurian Candidate"). Thank god it never happened.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 March 2015
This is a visually striking film shot from a lot of interesting angles. It must have stood out in its day and is still very impressive now.
At the start we follow Arthur Hamilton (played by John Randolph) on his commute from the city. As he boards the train he is handed an address. The close up shots reveal his unhappiness and discomfort. He goes home to his big house in the suburbs where he seems ill at ease with his wife. We still don't know where this is leading until he follows up on the address and visits the head quarters of a clandestine company who promise to fake his death, take care of his family and give him a new identity to start over.
He signs up and undergoes extensive painful surgery to be reborn as Antiochus Wilson, now played by Rock Hudson. His taller, better looking self is whisked away to California to live the life of an artist, free in every way from his earlier life. He has a beach house, a butler and meets a new woman with whom he goes to parties and nudie hippy-type festivals.
But does he find happiness or is he doomed to never be happy with what he has? This film looks at the consequences of dissatisfaction in a way that still resonates today - recommended.
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on 13 March 2010
I was lucky enough to catch this film on television some years ago, and have never forgotten the experience. My expectations were high regarding its' DVD release and I was not disappointed. (unfortunately region 1 only!) This is a very somber and profound venture for 1966 hollywood, and intensely thrilling to boot! Will Geer is unforgettable as head of the sinister organisation, with Rock Hudson producing a new side to his persona that I don't think has been seen before or since! The surprising difference on the DVD for me was the inclusion of full-frontal nudity in the grape-pressing sequence, this was omitted from the televised version, and greatly reduced in the original cinema presentation, as I learnt from listening to the marvellous commentary by Director Frankenheimer! There are many stylistic touches to relish in this production, titles by Saul Bass that resonate purely sinister undertones throughout, ably assisted by a supremely excellent Jerry Goldsmith score!(there is a moment in the film where the original use of music from Alien can be heard!) Deep focus and extreme wide-angled cinematography by Wong Howe only add to the enjoyment! The transfer and print quality are entirely satisfying!The sound, crisp and clear. The film works on many levels, could its' makers' have been commenting on fears and suspicions amongst the intelligentsia of 1966 America? A wonderful and unexpected experience for lovers of 1960's thrillers!
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on 26 October 2015
Great value considering the extras.
I will say the picture is better than i expected;incredible depth for black and white.The acting is oscar winning quality,the story thrilling.and very creepy at times.
A perfect gift for a sci-fi film buff.Wont spoil it for you.
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on 7 November 2013
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on 17 February 2015
Criterion Collection: Seconds [DVD] [1966] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

From the opening musical score the scene is set. You know immediately what type of journey you are about to embark upon. Yes, you are travelling first class towards an existential nightmare.

This Criterion dvd transfer is excellent. Deep blacks, clean whites along with good contrast. At times it is possible to see every pore on the actors faces and every bead of sweat. There is some noise in low light shots but I think that's normal. I just can't imagine how much more a Blu Ray version could possibly improve on this.

Oh and there is a little booklet that provides lots of insightful info from actors and the wife of the late John Frankenheimer. The artwork is fantastic too.

I can highly recommend this Criterion Collection release.
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on 14 February 2016
Very disturbing film which constantly kept me on edge. I hadn't see the film for many years and whilst it is a bit slow at times it still packs a punch. I won't give away the plot but it helps if you are in the right mood for this type of film as it is not always an easy watch. The black and white cinematography, off kilter camera angles and unsettling music set the scene for a film which you'll certainly remember. Rock Hudson plays a very different role to the ones we're used to and he does a very good job.

The extras put the film in the context of Frankenheimer's previous films and include information of which I was previously unaware.
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