Saturday, May 10, 2008

Seconds (1966)

Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is a listless Manhattan businessman who lives with his wife in the New York suburbs. One day, he runs into an old friend (Murray Hamilton) whom he thought had died. The friend leads him to The Company, a secretive operation run by The Old Man (Will Geer). The Company is a high-tech service which, for a price, provides older men with plastic surgery, a beefed-up body, and a fresh start in life. To cover the "disappearance," a middle-aged male cadaver is "killed" in a hotel fire. Hamilton submits to the operation that will turn him into a "Second," and when the bandages are removed, he's shed twenty years, renamed Tony Wilson and is portrayed by Rock Hudson. The Company creates a new identity for Hamilton, relocating him in a hedonistic California beach community with an identity as a painter. Celebrating during a local wine festival, Hamilton has his revelry cut short when he learns that all his new young friends are Seconds like himself and suddenly feels trapped in these surroundings. Unfortunately, finding a way out isn't nearly as easy as it was to find a way in. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 107 mins
Seconds (1966)
For such an older film and B/W, it sure pushes the boundary of censorships. It is rates as an R for nudity but similar features have been threatened with X ratings during the 60s. While the husband and wife sleep in separate beds, the drunken hedonistic grape stomping festival is complete with full frontal nudity of quite a few beautiful young women. This was suppose to be filmed around Santa Barbara, but I never did see any event like this mentioned.

This is directed by the same director as The Manchurian Candidate (1962). John Frankenheimer also provides the commentator dialogue as the only special feature.

This film reminds me of a variety of original Twilight Zone episodes. The hero thinks that the grass is always greener on the other side, but in the end discovers the cost of living that other life is too high, and nothing is free in life.

Honest Arnie [HI-PRO] "The Used Cow Dealer" was a real business in Los Angeles according to the director. The director also says he had problems eating beef for months after the shooting of the film-understandably.
If you take away your past you don't exist as a person.

In the end a fine film exploring the horrors of joining a "Company" that is based on deception and lies. If things that are offered are too good to be true-they tend to turn out that way.

No comments: