Seconds

1966

Seconds (1966)

TOMATOMETER

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Critic Consensus: Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust.

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Movie Info

Fifty-ish Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is approached by a secret company that promises to provide him with a fresh start, complete with a new face (Rock Hudson) and lifestyle. But as he struggles with his own sense of identity, he begins to have second thoughts.

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Cast

Rock Hudson
as Antiochus "Tony" Wilson
Salome Jens
as Norma Marcus
John Randolph
as Arthur Hamilton
Jeff Corey
as Mr. Ruby
Murray Hamilton
as Charlie Evans
Karl Swenson
as Dr. Morris
Francois Ruggieri
as Girl in Boudoir
Frances Reid
as Emily Hamilton
Elisabeth Fraser
as Plump Blonde
Dody Heath
as Sue Bushman
Dorothy Morris
as Mrs. Filter
Barbara Werle
as Secretary
Frank Campanella
as Man in Station
Edgar Stehli
as Tailor Shop Presser
Aaron Magidow
as Meat Man
Francoise Ruggieri
as Girl in Boudoir
Thom Conroy
as Dayroom Attendant
Kirk Duncan
as Mr. Filter
William Wintersole
as Operating Room Doctor
Tina Scala
as Young Girl
Ned Young
as Mr. Filter
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Critic Reviews for Seconds

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (3)

US suburbia boredom is treated in an original manner in this cross between a sci-fi opus, a thriller, a suspense pic and a parable on certain aspects of American middle-class life.

Sep 23, 2007 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The screenplay ollapses into musty moralizing in the second half, and director John Frankenheimer throws in the towel.

May 29, 2007 | Full Review…

Little wonder it flopped at the time, only to be cherished by a later generation.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

The film's greatest strength is its dynamic black and white cinematography courtesy of James Wong Howe, who instills the film with an intense, paranoid feel.

Sep 8, 2014 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

[C]hange comes only before the cradle and after the grave ... consumerism processes identity until it's oversold.

Dec 2, 2013 | Rating: 10/10 | Full Review…

A fun house mirror world that never looks quite right because it never is, and never was.

Sep 9, 2013 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Seconds

A great atmospheric psychological thriller in the vain of Orson Welles' The Trail. Also features the first use of the Snori-Cam (to the best of my knowledge)

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

Bold, highly psychological science fiction that might have gone on to enjoy a cult reputation if 2001 hadn't stolen its thunder two years later. Seconds is nowhere near the auteurial spectacle that Kubrick's magnum opus is, but its premise gracefully avoids Twilight Zone-style moralization by communicating its sensations through aesthetics, not thematic monologuing. The ending is wordy, but it doesn't say half as much as Rock Hudson's blissful surrender at the wine ceremony, or the disorientation and betrayal he feels at a house party. This approach surely works because of the incredible cinematography, way ahead of its time; it keeps a tight focus around the human aspects of the film, locked behind Hudson's head as he goes through the motions of a painfully dull life or fisheyed on some strange faces looming over him. As a visual representation of a character's inner workings, it's very immediate and unabashedly obvious, but perfectly in sync with the film's own unique claustrophobia. A diamond in the rough, if you can hunt it down.

Drew Smith
Drew Smith

Super Reviewer

This movie's plot reminds me of so many other movies I've seen more recently, I wondered if this was were they got their ideas? I hope not, this movie was terribly boring and slow. I did not like it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

½

Riveting suspense thriller about a middle-aged man who takes the opportunity to exchange his mediocre humdrum life for something supposedly better. The best moral for this story would be "Be careful of what you ask for. " This film, starring Rock Hudson in a performance I didn't think he had in him, has me glued to the screen from the first frame. The film was made in a beautfiul B&W. The intro and titles involve a great deal of distorted and disorienting photography, courtesy of cinematography great James Wong Howe, enhanced by a driving, dramatic score by Jerry Goldsmith. This score tells you that there is nothing light-hearted about what's coming up. Director John Frankenheimer did a marvelous job at moving the story along so that you never wanted to look away. I remember being surprised when the film was over because It seemed a lot shorter than its 1:46 running time.The film starts with a mystery already in the making, in that the main character has already been unnerved by a sinister phone call. And if I never remember another thing about this film, the Twilight Zone-style final frames at the end of the film will haunt me forever. I'm usually not one to pick up on director style, but this film reminded me visually of The Manchurian Candidate so much that I would know Frankenheimer's work if he did a dog food commercial. The wildest thing about this film is how relevant it seems in this day and age . The theme of the film -- getting away from your old life, having all responsibilities and demands disappear, and to be installed into your dream career without any effort on your part -- sounds like the perfect solution for many people these days. But I think the lesson here would be over the heads of most of those same people. I'm surprised that this film hasn't been remade, although there is no reason for it to be. I can see a mediocre, high-octane version of this done with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Rock Hudson role. I hope no powers-that-be see this post; we will have that very thing inflicted on us as a big-budget summer movie. I shudder to think...

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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