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Showing 1-10 of 103 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 181 reviews
on June 19, 2016
This is the blackest of all black comedies, so black, in fact, that the satire almost drowns in the horrible accuracy of the rendering--and skewering-- of its target: the emotional restraint of the suburban American bourgeoisie. I saw this film when it was first released in 1966. Then, I was stunned by the powerful B&W photography, the audacity of the concept, the score, and by what I took for the bad acting. Bad acting aside, I never forgot about it. Now, years later, I see, yes, the acting is somewhat awkward, but Rock Hudson must have felt 'somewhat' awkward in the role of a man faking his way through a life contrary to his real proclivities, with (to say the least) catastrophic consequences.. Combatting this are the pitch-perfect performances of his co-stars Will Geer, Salome Gens and Jeff Corey. I read that director John Frankenheimer (MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) was dissatisfied with the second half of the film. So be it. It's not perfect but, with all of its faults, it deserves to be on the list of --what?--The 10 Most Disturbing Films of All Time? See it!
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on July 18, 2013
I had just turned 15 when I saw this film. I believe it was part of a Saturday matinee double-feature. I quickly forget the main feature, but not this film. Since I was not a licensed driver at the time and had to arrange for someone to pick me up after the show, I had to stay for both features. Otherwise, I might have left after the first main feature. I mean after all, what did this movie have for a 15 year old boy? It was B&W and starred Doris Day's lover boy, Rock Hudson. Boy am I glad I had to wait for that ride home. The film blew me away! I'm now 61 years old and have seen thousands of movies, but this one still sticks in my mine, just like the The Manchurian Candidate in 1962, also directed by John Frankenheimer. As an eleven year old in 1962, I didn't follow everything going on in that film, but I knew I really, really liked it.

I am so looking forward to this new DVD release of Seconds. I haven't seen the film in many, many years. The film dramatically changed my view of Rock Hudson. Instead of simply waving off a movie in which he appears, I wait until I've actually watched it to judge. That's how I found out that I also liked his performances in Ice Station Zebra (1968) and Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971).
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 30, 2009
More than 40 years old now, this small, darkly powerful film still packs a devastating, heartbreaking punch. The story itself is simple, and one that anyone can appreciate: a middle-aged man, vaguely dissatisfied with his supposedly successful life, is offered a second chance in a remade, rejuvenated body, complete with a new life. And of course it's a monstrously Faustian bargain, something that's made clear from the first ominous notes & disorienting graphics of the opening credits.

But it's the relentlessly oppressive tone & the fine acting that take this basic premise into nightmarish territory. For anyone who thought that Rock Hudson was only capable of lightweight comedy or soap opera melodrama, this will be a real eye-opener. He gives it his all & lays his soul bare, nakedly raw, especially in the final scenes. His despair, his anguish, his hunger for something so desperately lost & never found, burns through the screen. It's such an intense & vulnerable performance that it's almost physically unsettling to watch!

There have been complaints about the length of the vineyard scene -- but I think that drawing it out actually adds to the meaning of the film. What begins as a potential orgy, an invitation to release all inhibitions & revel in sensual pleasures, becomes something dreary & nasty as it drags on & on, revealing the spiritual emptiness beneath the facade of endless sensation & instant gratification. There's no real love to be found here, no real human connection, not even the release of genuinely earthy & healthy sex. There's only constant noise & movement to cover the unbearable truth.

And it's a truth that our doomed protagonist learns too late -- what required changing wasn't the outward appearance, but the inner man. All the plastic surgery, the fast cars, the beautiful women, the glamorous lifestyle -- all of it is hollow, if you're still the same person within, unwilling or unable to grow spiritually & emotionally. If only he could go back, try again! But there's no going back.

What's especially chilling is how the emptiness depicted so scathingly here has become a guiding principle for so much of contemporary society. The promise of a new life is even glossier today, far more glittering, as trendy & uber-hip as it could be ... but in the end, still as unsatisfying as ever, offering nothing, taking everything.

If you're looking for horror, forget the adolescent titillation of torture porn & zombies & CGI monsters - this is the real thing. For me, it's one of the finest & most frightening examinations of midlife that I've ever seen -- most highly recommended!
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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 until perhaps a third of the way thru, and then turns out more an antihero. At least as smart as "Rosemarie's Baby." A flawed guy, he decides to go back to the old life. But that would hurt the organization! Can't have that.

No chainsaws, no blood, none of the current stupid SFX stuff, computer graphics, kiddie stuff. It starts mundane in NY Grand Central commuter flow. The protag. of the moment is suddenly handed a note, and when he reads in his train car he begins to sweat. A new life is possible, a complete remake. The plot develops darkly, intriguingly, more and more suspiciously--and still no Hudson. Eventually, yes, but star power isn't needed here, just decent looks and good acting, and Hudson holds the level up commendably. This film really should be viewed, and on DVD better, closer to as filmed.

Hard to review it well without giving away too much. Take a chance. It should be cheap to buy by now. Very occas. it will be on TV.
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on August 29, 2013
...and did you ever think to identify Rock Hudson with any film with that description? Hang onto your fedora, but the Rock rocks this one wide open. Made in 1966, before the age of biometrics, DNA analysis, etc - when men were men and corpses were ID'd by fingerprints and visual inspection only - this movie was shocking and even terrifying to the audiences of the time. It's intensely disturbing even now, although I think as much for the plot as for the sad realization that even after nearly 50 years, the same impulses, needs, fears, hopes - and greed, venality, self-absorption and evil - control even more of our lives and culture. The acting is stellar by all the characters. For a 1966 flick it's pretty fast-paced. The ending isn't telegraphed as in so many thrillers, so you owe it to yourself to try to avoid reading the entire IMDB or Google description before you watch it.
Oh - even if you did read about the ending, it's worth watching: text does not do it justice!
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on July 29, 2015
I first saw this movie in the Fox Theater in St Louis with my parents when I was a kid. The movie stuck with me for DECADES, then I just had to find it online to buy because they don't show this movie on television in reruns. It's WAY too weird--but it's good! Seeing it on a big-screen TV is almost like a movie house. Rock Hudson was definitely not playing his typical Rock Hudson character. He should have gotten an Academy Award. And the Will Geer character?! I can only say, you won't look at Grandpa Walton the same again!
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VINE VOICEon May 4, 2011
John Frankenheimer's 1966 film "Seconds", starring Hollywood legend and tortured star Rock Hudson, is one of the most psychically jarring and profound films I believe I've ever seen. A decidedly downcast meditation on happiness, identity, and who we pretend to be vs. who we really are, it has the smell of a Raymond Chandler novel coupled with an oppressive sense of Kafkaesque madness. The cinematography is claustrophobic, perfectly complimenting the atmosphere.

John Randolph plays Arthur Hamilton, an old man who has lived the archetypal American life. A few plaques here, a few trophies there, he is perfectly successful and perfectly miserable.

In one of the scariest, most angst ridden scenes I've ever had the pleasure to witness, and old friend from his college tennis club calls him--a guy who died 10 years ago. He informs him that there is "always a second chance", convinces him of his identity, and tells him to hit a small spot in the city where he can be given that second chance.

The way Frankenheimer juxtaposes the scenes of a rainy 1960's NYC with this man's entrance into an unknown bureaucratic human meat market of identity change is a testament to his mastery. With "Seconds" and The Manchurian Candidate (Special Edition) it is curious that he is often not mentioned in the same breath as other great filmmakers.

Through a series of skillfull but somehow revolting series of physical surgeries, Arthur Hamilton becomes Antiochus "Tony" Wilson (Rock Hudson)--an artist with a fabricated background in painting and prestigious following.

There are some touching moments in this film where Arthur/Tony becomes liberated from his rigid, conservative background and meets Salome Jens (Nora Marcus), a beautiful blonde woman who also found her life tedious and unsatisfying, thus contacting "the Agency" to fix it.

Unfortunately, though, a fake is a fake. Costume jewelry is not real jewelry. The last half hour of the film consists of an identity split--Arthur's rebellion against this pre packaged destruction of his tortured, but real identity, lands him in a most unfavorable situation indeed.

When speaking about the film, Frankenheimer often mentioned that Hudson, a known alcoholic, insisted that he actually drink when doing the scenes in which he rebels against the other people (products of "the agency"). Hudson always controlled himself on the set of movies and never drank on set. This was particularly important to him.

Rock Hudson died of AIDS on October 2, 1985. His entire life he had tried to suppress knowledge of his homosexuality and was largely successful, even resorting to pointing out other men in the closet like James Dean for the press. While this film is much, much more than metaphor for repressed homosexuality, Hudson's extraordinary performance is obviously informed by this intense inner conflict. I remember first seeing this film at the age of 15, and when rewatching it on Amazon Video On Demand I noticed that I'd forgotten nothing. It is that powerful. Recommended for anyone who loves film.
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on December 2, 2015
Okay, it's not Ingmar Bergman, but Frankenheimer's SECONDS is an edgy, intriguing film about the meaning of life. I guess one reason why nobody seems to have heard of SECONDS is that it's difficult to categorize. It's SciFi strictly speaking, but Frankenheimer's intimate yet dramatic black and white makes it about as far from AVATAR as it's possible to get. And it certainly isn't PILLOW TALK--you'll have to throw out your preconceptions about Rock Hudson as an actor for this one. Get your head outside the box and watch it. If nothing else, it will start you thinking about your own future.
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on March 4, 2015
A great movie, with tons of Hollywood "bit players" in same (Fraiser's dad from television, WIll Greer, Murray Hamilton, among others) and an interesting and provolking story line i the bargain. Other than one odd scene involving a meat packing operation (at the very begining of the film), it is a tightly structured and edited piece of film. It even includes female frontal nudity, this back in the day when a topless woman would have gotten a typical Hollywood film pulled from circulation. And, the twist that the plot takes is great.
Sure, it's in black and whitem but obce you/re off of the connuter train at the beginning, you won't even notice.
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on September 23, 2013
This is , in my opinion , is John Frankenheimer and Rock Hudson great films . the story itself is cutting edge , Oh ! I forgot to mention the legendary Cinematographer James Wong Howe who's camera work are beyond words . e.g. Tracking shots , Steady Shots , Steady-cam was not not developed at the time , So just imagine the work that went into setting up the camera gear to create the amazing shots in this film and thanks to Criterion Blu Ray ,we get to know more of this film ; Thank to the supplements
including : A really nice opinion with Alec Baldwin of Seconds and its impact with his film career and working with John Frankenheimer …
Thank You
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