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Seconds (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1966)

Rock Hudson , Salome Jens , John Frankenheimer  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph, Will Geer
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: August 13, 2013
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,599 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Seconds (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New 4K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
  • Audio commentary featuring director John Frankenheimer
  • Actor Alec Baldwin on Frankenheimer and Seconds
  • New program on the making of Seconds
  • Interview with Frankenheimer from 1971
  • New visual essay by film scholars R. Barton Palmer and Murray Pomerance
  • PLUS: An essay by critic David Sterritt

  • Editorial Reviews

    Rock Hudson (All That Heaven Allows) is a revelation in this sinister, science-fiction-inflected dispatch from the fractured 1960s. SECONDS, directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), concerns a middle-aged businessman dissatisfied with his suburban existence, who elects to undergo a strange and elaborate procedure that will grant him a new life. Starting over in America, however, is not as easy as it sounds. This paranoiac symphony of canted camera angles (courtesy of famed cinematographer James Wong Howe), fragmented editing, and layered sound design is a remarkably risk-taking Hollywood film that ranks high on the list of its legendary director’s major achievements.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    113 of 115 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Second-to-None January 28, 2002
    We've all had days where we wished we could escape our ourselves and our lives, to be someone else somewhere else. But even if it were possible, could we really start over? Seconds asks and answers that question - some might argue quite cynically - through some of the most searing and surreal images and dialogue on film, in a story both jarring and emotionally resonant because it tells truths about humanity.
    Without giving up too much of the plot, it is difficult to convey just how profoundly disturbing and haunting this film is, even after multiple viewings. From the pipe-organ score by Jerry Goldsmith that breathes with an eerie, heretic fervor; to the distorted faces in the titles by Saul Bass; to the stunning wide-angle black-and-white photography by James Wong Howe; to the peerless direction by John Frankenheimer; and of course, to the career-topping performance of Rock Hudson as the protagonist striking the faustian bargain to trade in his humdrum, middle-age existence for a new beginning, this film is simply one of the most overlooked and underrated gems of '60s cinema.
    That it was made nearly 40 years ago is evident because of the film's many on-location shots, but the movie transcends its era and its genre (science fiction?) because it deals with timeless themes and a premise that in today's world of cloning and biotechnology seems increasingly plausible (at least physically). Seconds also remains more chilling than Frankenheimer's more popular masterpiece, The Manchurian Candidate, because it speaks poignantly about something we can all identify with: identity.
    The new DVD is very much worth the price of admission: the picture transfer is really superb, and the sound isn't bad relative to most films of its time period.
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    52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Time Capsule of Terror July 23, 2003
    The core concept of this film has special relevance almost 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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    50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten American masterpiece February 8, 2005
    "Every man has, inside him, a key left unturned."

    SECONDS, directed by John Frankenheimer, may be perhaps one of the greatest American movies that no one has ever seen or heard of. It's obscurity is a real crime considering that the inferior (but still very good) AMERICAN BEAUTY and the absolutely wretched EYES WIDE SHUT (not to mention the bloated LAST TANGO IN PARIS) have enjoyed greater notoriety while dealing with exactly the same material.

    In fact a great festival would be to show all four films together. Although one may want to shoot themselves afterword.

    SECONDS, like all the great tragedies, truly is a pessimistic and depressing film on one hand, and yet, on the other hand, manages to elate the viewer in terms of the incredible mastery of storytelling craft that the filmakers John Frankenheimer and James Wong Howe so expertly display. The acting, script, direction and cinemaphotography all blend perfectly together to create a shattering and unforgettable experience.

    The narrative, dealing with a middle aged suburbanite getting a chance at a new start via a shadowy company with real Satanic overtones, is filled with haunting, frightening and utterly truthfull revelations about the fragile human condition. Arthur Hamilton/Tony, the sad protagonist (expertly played by both John Randolph and Rock Hudson(!)) finds all too late that there is no place like home, and once you're gone, you're gone. This is a lesson that Hamilton/Tony doesn't learn until it is too late.

    The film proposes this as a fact of our existance that ultimately we all must come to face and accept. Our choices will then lead us to either making our present state better or diving off into changing what cannot be changed: the past.

    Watching this film is not escapist entertainment. It is challenging, disturbing and creepy. It is however, a work of art. Don't miss this. A 10 out of 10.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Seconds
    This movie was ahead of its time and shocking in the day. Great performances by the cast including a benignly evil, anti-Walton Will Geer. A good watch all around. Read more
    Published 9 days ago by W. Noonan
    5.0 out of 5 stars It was rather bleak and light years from Rock Hudson's sweet natured...
    I can see why it was less than heralded when it was first released. It was rather bleak and light years from Rock Hudson's sweet natured romantic commedies with Doris Day. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Mark Samuel
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Service and product were excellent.
    Published 1 month ago by Paul D. Lynch
    4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent script. Spot on depiction of the deadening life ...
    Excellent script. Spot on depiction of the deadening life of a typical successful suiburbanite, Unnearving, stunning cinematography by
    James Wong Howe. Read more
    Published 1 month ago by michael honodel
    5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, dark plot, initially puzzling on purpose; an intelligent,...
    Get it on DVD, but regardless this is a scary, really smart one. It's a surprise that Hudson would be in this dark film--no Doris Day or happy talk here, and he doesn't get in... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Pursuingknowledgeandperspectives
    5.0 out of 5 stars An unsettling journey
    Occasionally referred to as one of director Frankenheimer's paranoia quartet, Seconds, even after repeated viewings, is quite unsettling. Read more
    Published 3 months ago by JCY 500
    5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie.
    Just buy this film. You'll watch it again. It's like a really long episode of The Twilight Zone. Beautiful transfer.
    Published 4 months ago by A.R. L.
    3.0 out of 5 stars Very tough call
    This movie was recommended to me by a friend. He knows I love movies. This movie....not so much. First not really a John Frankenheimer fan. But, I watched it anyway. Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Russell S
    5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Rock
    Intense existential drama by way of the empirical. Rock Hudson proves once again (All the Heaven Allows, The Last Sunset) that he's much more than just a pretty face and... Read more
    Published 5 months ago by Shayne Pace
    5.0 out of 5 stars see the movie and get a chance to see rock hudson at his best
    must see entertainment. as good as i remember it 40 years ago. a chilling movie with an unforgetable ending that will stay with you forgever
    Published 7 months ago by john m. peterson
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