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December 18, 2004

'Seconds' - Rock Hudson, as you've never seen him before


A terrible title for a superb, nearly forgotten 1966 movie directed by John Frankenheimer.

Made during the period he created his greatest films - "Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962), "The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and "Seven Days In May (1964) - this picture somehow disappeared.

I only learned of it when a bookofjoe reader suggested it in a comment on a post dealing with paranoia.

Long story short: Rock Hudson plays an aging banker who's given a chance to live his life over, courtesy of a shadowy company which stages a person's death and then recreates an entirely new body with advanced plastic surgery techniques.

As a "Reborn," he can't shake the memories of his old life.

It's by far the best performance ever by Hudson, who is altogether believable as a man haunted by the life he'd failed in, now apparently doomed to repeat those failures in an entirely different setting.

How much of life is accident, and how much inevitable?

Frankenheimer explores this question wonderfully here.

Superb, haunting score by Jerry Goldsmith; wonderful, disturbing Francis Bacon-esque titles by Saul Bass; and an almost Hitchcockian sense of foreboding and impending doom pervade this haunting black-and-white film.

An entirely subversive movie whose theme of the absurdity of modern life was even more anti-establishment in 1966.

The DVD has been rendered beautifully and it sounds superb as well.

You could find many lesser movies to spend $13.49 on.

Highly recommended.

December 18, 2004 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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I remember seeing this when I was a kid -- the ending has always stuck with me. Come to think of it, this would be an excellent stocking-stuffer for the wife . . . :)

Posted by: Craig | Dec 20, 2004 8:52:41 PM

One of my personal favorites also. A better Twilight Zone movie than any made. - Matt

Posted by: Mattp9 | Dec 18, 2004 4:58:34 PM

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