Watched: September 12 2020
Director: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Rock Hudson, John Randolph, Frances Reid, Murray Hamilton, Salome Jens
Runtime: 1h 46min
Arthur Hamilton (Randolph) is a middle aged, middle class banker who is tired of his unfulfilling existence. One day he receives a phone call from a deceased friend with promises of a whole new world.
He seeks out the address given to him on a train and before he knows it he is pretty much blackmailed to go through with “rebirth” – a faked death, a new name, a new face, and a new life.
However, what could seem a dream to many in reality turns into a nightmare when Arthur, now Tony Wilson (Hudson), struggles to adjust to his new existence.
Seconds is tense, uncomfortable and unsettling. Tony’s decline and his ultimate fate are completely out of his control and very brutal.
The film gave us a bit of a noir-vibe, possibly because of the way it is shot. We were gripped throughout though very uncomfortable, especially for the last 30 minutes or so. You can see where it’s going, but you still can’t look away.
The only weakness here is in the script – possibly the original book: we would have thought it even more impactful if Arthur/Tony chose to go through with the rebirth. As it is, he was tricked into it, which makes the message somewhat less poignant. In our opinion.
All in all, if you want a depressing and disturbing sci-fi film for a rainy Tuesday night, go for Seconds. You can do a lot worse.
What we learned: Don’t believe the hype! (Except the hype about this movie. That’s all true.)
Next time: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)