Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Frankenheimer|
|Produced by||Edward Lewis|
|Screenplay by||Lewis John Carlino|
|Based on||Seconds, a novel|
by David Ely
|Starring|| Rock Hudson |
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography||James Wong Howe|
|Edited by|| David Newhouse |
John Frankenheimer Productions
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
107 min (re-release: 1996)
|Box office||$1.75 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Seconds is a 1966 American science-fiction drama film directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Rock Hudson. The screenplay by Lewis John Carlino was based on Seconds, a novel by David Ely.The film was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival and released by Paramount Pictures. The cinematography by James Wong Howe was nominated for an Academy Award.
In film and television, drama is a genre of narrative fiction intended to be more serious than humorous in tone. Drama of this kind is usually qualified with additional terms that specify its particular subgenre, such as "police crime drama", "political drama", "legal drama", "historical period drama", "domestic drama", or "comedy-drama". These terms tend to indicate a particular setting or subject-matter, or else they qualify the otherwise serious tone of a drama with elements that encourage a broader range of moods.
John Michael Frankenheimer was an American film and television director known for social dramas and action/suspense films. Among his credits were Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), The Train (1965), Seconds (1966), Grand Prix (1966), French Connection II (1975), Black Sunday (1977), and Ronin (1998).
Rock Hudson was an American actor, generally known for his turns as a leading man during the 1950s and 1960s. Viewed as a prominent "heartthrob" of the Hollywood Golden Age, he achieved stardom with roles in films such as Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Giant (1956), for which he received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and found continued success with a string of romantic comedies co-starring Doris Day in Pillow Talk (1959), Lover Come Back (1961) and Send Me No Flowers (1964). After appearing in films including Seconds (1966), Tobruk (1967) and Ice Station Zebra (1968) during the late 1960s, Hudson began a second career in television through the 1970s and 1980s, starring in the popular mystery series McMillan & Wife and the primetime ABC soap opera Dynasty.
In 2015, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The Library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. The Library's functions are overseen by the Librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the Architect of the Capitol. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the Library of Congress as the largest library in the world, and the library describes itself as such. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."
The National Film Registry (NFR) is the United States National Film Preservation Board's (NFPB) selection of films deserving of preservation. The NFPB, established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, was reauthorized by acts of Congress in 1992, 1996, 2005, and again in October 2008. The NFPB's mission, to which the NFR contributes, is to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's film heritage. The 1996 law also created the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation which, although affiliated with the NFPB, raises money from the private sector.
Seconds is a mystery dealing with the obsession with eternal youth and a mysterious organization which gives people a second chance in life.
Eternal youth is the concept of human physical immortality free of ageing. The youth referred to is usually meant to be in contrast to the depredations of aging, rather than a specific age of the human lifespan. Achieving eternal youth so far remains beyond the capabilities of scientific technology. However, much research is being conducted in the sciences of genetics which may allow manipulation of the aging process in the future. Eternal youth is common in mythology, and is a popular theme in fiction.
Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is a middle-aged man whose life has lost purpose. He has achieved success, but finds it unfulfilling. His love for his wife has dwindled and he seldom sees his only child. Through a friend, Charlie, whom he thought was dead, Hamilton is approached by a secret organization, known simply as the "Company",which offers him a new life.
Emanuel Hirsch Cohen, better known by the stage name John Randolph, was an American film, television and stage actor.
Hamilton arrives at a meat-packing plant for a meeting. He is given workman overalls and hat, then exits the facility by a different door and is seated inside a truck that takes him to another building. He disappears into a large complex filled with dark, empty hallways, where he awaits his transformation. The Company gives Hamilton the body of a young man (Hudson) through plastic surgery, and a new identity, namely "Antiochus 'Tony' Wilson". He later discovers this identity has been taken from someone who recently died.
He is resettled into a community filled with people like him who are "reborns". Eventually, Hamilton decides the new life is not what he wants. He contacts the Company, letting them know he wants a different identity, and they agree, taking him back to wait for his new identity. There, he meets Charlie, who has also wished to go under yet another "rebirth". Charlie is chosen and walked away from the waiting room. Later during the night, the owner of the Company discusses his original purpose for founding the organization, and assures Hamilton that the issues he has brought up will be looked into. Hamilton learns as he is wheeled into the operating room, before being sedated, that he is to be killed. His body is used as the catalyst (corpse) for a new patient to be reborn. The film ends with the camera panning up to a surgical light as a drill is pushed through his head: as he loses consciousness, he has a random memory of two figures walking along a beach; the image distorts and loses resolution.
Salome Jens is an American stage, film and television actress. She is perhaps best known for portraying the Female Changeling on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the 1990s.
Will Geer was an American actor and social activist, who was active in labor organizing and other movements in New York and Southern California in the 1930s and 1940s. In California he befriended rising singer Woody Guthrie. They both lived in New York for a time in the 1940s. He was blacklisted in the 1950s by HUAC for refusing to name persons who had joined the Communist Party.
Jeff Corey was an American stage and screen actor and director who became a well-respected acting teacher after being blacklisted in the 1950s.
The director of photography for Seconds was James Wong Howe, who pioneered novel techniques in black-and-white cinematography, and whose career spanned nearly five decades. He was nominated for an Oscar at the 39th Academy Awards for his work on the film. Seconds was Frankenheimer and Howe's last film in black-and-white.
Wong Tung Jim, A.S.C., known professionally as James Wong Howe (Houghto), was a Chinese American cinematographer who worked on over 130 films. During the 1930s and 1940s, he was one of the most sought after cinematographers in Hollywood due to his innovative filming techniques. Howe was known as a master of the use of shadow and one of the first to use deep-focus cinematography, in which both foreground and distant planes remain in focus.
The 39th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1966, were held on April 10, 1967, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. They were hosted by Bob Hope.
Rock Hudson was 5 inches taller than his movie counterpart, John Randolph; the difference in their heights was worked around with carefully chosen camera angles. Hudson and Randolph also spent a good deal of time together before production began, allowing Hudson to model Randolph's mannerisms, to resemble him more closely.
In Frankenheimer's commentary on the DVD, he notes:
The opening titles were designed by Saul Bass,using Helvetica set in white over optically warped black-and-white motion picture photography. A still frame from this sequence was used by the English industrial metal band Godflesh for the cover its 1988 self-titled EP.
John Frankenheimer directed Seconds just after the period during which he worked on his most notable films, Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), and Seven Days in May (1964). These last two films together with Seconds are sometimes known as Frankenheimer's paranoia trilogy.
Seconds became known for its connection to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. The story, which originated in the October 1967 magazine article "Goodbye Surfing, Hello God!",goes that when he arrived late to a theater showing of Seconds, he appeared to be greeted with the onscreen dialogue, "Come in, Mr. Wilson." He was convinced for some time that rival producer Phil Spector (one of the film's investors) was taunting him through the movie, and that it was written about his recent traumatic experiences and intellectual pursuits, going so far as to note that "even the beach was in it, a whole thing about the beach." He later cancelled the Beach Boys' forthcoming album Smile , and the film reportedly frightened him so much that he did not visit another movie theater until 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial .
Seconds premiered on October 5, 1966. It did poorly on its initial release,but has since become a cult classic.
A reviewer in Time commented: "Director John Frankenheimer and veteran photographer James Wong Howe manage to give the most improbable doings a look of credible horror. Once Rock appears, though, the spell is shattered, and through no fault of his own. Instead of honestly exploring the ordeal of assuming a second identity, the script subsides for nearly an hour into conventional Hollywood fantasy. [...] Seconds has moments, and that's too bad, in a way. But for its soft and flabby midsection, it might have been one of the trimmest shockers of the year."
Seconds has since gained an overall positive reaction, currently holding a 90% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 29 reviews. Rotten Tomatoes' consensus reads: "Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust."
In the film The Pervert's Guide to Ideology , the psychoanalytical Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek discusses the film as an example of what happens when desires are fulfilled.
Writing in Time Out New York , Andrew Johnston (critic) observed: "Seconds is easily one of the most subversive films ever to have come out of Hollywood: Even as it exposes the folly of selfishly abandoning one's commitments, it also makes a passionate case for following one's heart and rejecting conformity....This chilling portrayal of a well-meaning guy stuck in a Kafkaesque nightmare is unlike anything else he [Hudson] did."
Seconds was released on home video for the first time in May 1997.Seconds was released on DVD on January 8, 2002, and later went out of print. The Criterion Collection released a newly restored version of the film on DVD and Blu-ray on August 13, 2013.
Lenny is a 1974 American biographical drama film about the comedian Lenny Bruce, starring Dustin Hoffman and directed by Bob Fosse. The screenplay by Julian Barry is based on his play of the same name.
Missing is a 1982 American historical drama film directed by Costa-Gavras and starring Sissy Spacek, Jack Lemmon, Melanie Mayron, John Shea, Janice Rule and Charles Cioffi. It is based on the true story of American journalist Charles Horman, who disappeared in the bloody aftermath of the US-backed Chilean coup of 1973 that deposed the democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. Set largely during the days and weeks following Horman's disappearance, the movie depicts his father and wife searching to determine his fate. The film examines the relationship between Horman's wife Beth (Spacek) and her father-in-law, American businessman Ed Horman (Lemmon).
Ronin is a 1998 American action thriller film written by John David Zeik and David Mamet, and directed by John Frankenheimer. It stars Robert De Niro, Jean Reno, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Sean Bean, and Jonathan Pryce. The film is about a team of former special operatives that is hired to steal a mysterious, heavily guarded briefcase while navigating a maze of shifting loyalties. Ronin is noted for its realistic car chases in Nice and Paris, and its convoluted plot that uses the briefcase as a MacGuffin.
Chungking Express is a 1994 Hong Kong drama film written and directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film consists of two stories told in sequence, each about a lovesick Hong Kong policeman mulling over his relationship with a woman. The first story stars Takeshi Kaneshiro as a cop obsessed with his breakup with a woman named May, and his encounter with a mysterious drug smuggler. The second stars Tony Leung as a police officer roused from his gloom over the loss of his flight attendant girlfriend by the attentions of a quirky snack bar worker.
The Element of Crime is a 1984 neo-noir crime art film co-written and directed by Lars von Trier. It is the first feature film directed by Trier and the first installment of the director's Europa trilogy – succeeded by Epidemic (1987) and Europa (1991).
Grand Prix is a 1966 American drama film about motorsports featuring an international ensemble cast. The picture was directed by John Frankenheimer with music by Maurice Jarre and stars James Garner, Eva Marie Saint, Yves Montand, Brian Bedford, Jessica Walter and Antonio Sabàto. Toshiro Mifune has a supporting role as a race team owner, inspired by Soichiro Honda. The picture was photographed in Super Panavision 70 by Lionel Lindon, and presented in 70 mm Cinerama in premiere engagements. Its unique racing cinematography – in part credited to Saul Bass – is one of the main draws of the film.
King of the Hill is a 1993 drama film written and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It is the second he directed from his own screenplay following his 1989 Palme d'Or-winning film Sex, Lies, and Videotape. It too was nominated for the Palme d'Or, at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Homicide is a crime film written and directed by David Mamet, and released in 1991. The film's cast includes Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, and Ving Rhames. It was entered in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.
Murmur of the Heart is a 1971 French film by French director Louis Malle and starring Lea Massari, Benoît Ferreux and Daniel Gélin. Written as Malle's semi-autobiography, the film tells a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy growing up in bourgeois surroundings in post-World War II Dijon, France, with a complex relationship with his Italian mother.
The Hole is a 1960 French crime film directed by Jacques Becker. It is an adaptation of José Giovanni's 1957 book The Break. It was called The Night Watch when first released in the United States, but is released under its French title today. The film is based on a true event concerning five prison inmates in La Santé Prison in France in 1947. Director Becker, who died just weeks after shooting had wrapped, used mostly non-actors for the film's main roles, including one man who was actually involved in the 1947 escape attempt, and who introduces the film. It was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.
The Four Feathers is a 1939 British Technicolor adventure film directed by Zoltan Korda, starring John Clements, Ralph Richardson, June Duprez, and C. Aubrey Smith. Set during the reign of Queen Victoria, it tells the story of a man accused of cowardice. It is widely regarded as the best of the numerous film adaptations of the 1902 novel of the same name by A.E.W. Mason.
Suture is a 1993 neo-noir film directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel and starring Dennis Haysbert and Mel Harris. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
Don Quixote is a 2000 television film made by Hallmark Entertainment and distributed by TNT. It was directed by Peter Yates, and the teleplay, by John Mortimer, was adapted from Miguel de Cervantes' classic novel Don Quixote. The film was shown in three parts in Europe but in one installment in the U.S.
Colossal Youth is a 2006 docufiction feature film directed by Portuguese director Pedro Costa. The film was shot on DV in long, static takes and mixes documentary and fiction storytelling. The third feature by Costa set in Lisbon's Fontainhas neighborhood, Colossal Youth is a meditation on the aftermath of the Carnation Revolution and its consequences for Portugal's poverty-stricken Cape Verdean immigrants. It was part of the Official Competition at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
Watchers Reborn is the 1998 sequel to the horror film Watchers. Directed by John Carl Buechler and starring Mark Hamill, the film is loosely based on the novel Watchers by Dean Koontz.
The White Reindeer is a 1952 Finnish horror drama film directed by Erik Blomberg. It was entered in competition at the 1953 Cannes Film Festival and earned the Jean Cocteau-led jury special award for Best Fairy Tale Film. After its limited release five years later in the United States, it was one of five films to win the 1956 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film.
Rock Hudson is a 1990 American made-for-television crime drama film directed by John Nicolella. The story is based on My Husband, Rock Hudson, a 1987 novel by Phyllis Gates, Rock Hudson's wife (1955–1958). It is the story of their marriage, written after Hudson's 1985 death from AIDS. In the book Gates wrote that she was in love with Hudson and that she did not know Hudson was gay when they married, and was not complicit in his deception. The movie is also based on magazine articles, interviews and court records. Including transcripts of the Los Angeles Superior Court trial after which Marc Christian won a large settlement from the actor's estate because Hudson had hidden from him the fact that he was suffering from AIDS. Later, Marc Miller accused the movie of malicious lies. In April 1989, the court award to Christian was reduced to $5.5 million.
[Hudson] tried a new tack, and had an emotional collapse, filming John Frankenheimer's Seconds, which bombed at the box office.
In John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966), released Tuesday for the first time on tape, Rock Hudson is an aging, world-weary banker who gets a youthful remake but at a price.
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