Facts and Figures
Run time: 106 mins
In Theaters: Monday 14th November 1966
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Gibraltar Productions, Joel Productions, John Frankenheimer Productions Inc.
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 3
IMDB: 7.7 / 10
An old friend phones him out of the blue: Come to this address and prepare for an unimaginable new future. Indeed, no sooner has Hamilton entered the building (couriered there from a meat-packing plant, naturally) than he has become a customer, willing or not, of "the organization," which provides a radical plastic surgery regemin to cut about 30 years off the looks of its clients. Oh, and it also fakes the death of the client and provides a new identity -- and the client's new life is paid for with backdated insurance policies (after the organization takes its cut, of course).
Of course, there's no miracle life extension here -- you only look younger, you aren't really Rock Hudson, who John Randolph's Hamilton gains the appearance of. As Tony Wilson, Hudson turns in a tour de force as the unnaturally younger Tony, at first reluctant to accept his new life as a "second" or a "reborn," but soon diving into it whole-hog. He meets an appropriately young lady (or is she...?), throws wild parties, and uncovers a secret society of reborns living in Malibu (that explains it, at last!). Eventually he is even called upon to recruit another client after he flips out... and things go downhill as certain secrets about the organization are revealed.
John Frankenheimer directed Seconds during one of the most fertile eras of his life -- a time which included The Manchurian Candidate and Seven Days in May -- and some of his cinematic flourishes in this film have been copied ever since: his use of extremely deep focus, ultra-low Dutch angles, and an inventive camera that attaches to its subject, much like Darren Aronofsky aped in Pi. The look and feel of the film inspires nothing but dread and terror -- the perfectly subtle horror movie that terrifies without a single scene of gore. The final act is a tad too slow in reaching the conclusion, but this
Of course, lately, Frankenheimer has been directing junk like The Island of Dr. Moreau and Reindeer Games. He's actually making another Exorcist movie now. Maybe it's time for Frankenheimer to visit the organization himself...
The newly released DVD features an enlightening commentary by Frankenheimer along with the original trailer. Excellent disc for an excellent film.