Described by many, as one of the most underappreciated films of the sixties, John Frankenheimer’s 1966 mystery drama Seconds, is the third entry in the director’s unofficial ‘paranoia trilogy’.
It’s the story of Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a downbeat middle-aged man who is approached by a company with the opportunity to fake his own death and undergo a procedure to give him a new look and identity.
After being drugged, Arthur wakes and is shown a film in which he rapes a young girl, obviously whilst still drugged. From this moment on and with the video intended as blackmail, there is no way back.
After surgery, he awakes to his new identity as the handsome Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson), a much younger-looking man. With his new beachside home, personal servant, and beautiful love interest, it seems that the decision to throw away his previous life was justified.
It is not long, however, before complications arise with catastrophic consequences.
Hudson produces an incredible performance, and the unsettling camera angles, distressing close-ups and surreal, psychedelic settings make Seconds a scintillating and thought-provoking film.
Antiochus ‘Tony’ Wilson