Film (1966). Paramount/Joel/Gibraltar. Directed by John Frankenheimer. Written by Lewis John Carlino, from Seconds (1963) by David Ely. Cast includes Will Geer, Rock Hudson, Salome Jens and John Randolph. 106 minutes. Black and white.
A middle-aged businessman (Randolph) pays a large sum to have his death faked and his youth restored by futuristic surgery (see Medicine), so that he can start a new life in a new body (Hudson). Tiring of the young swingers he now moves with, he learns it is impossible to return to his old life. The shadowy organization which arranged all this turns menacing at his backsliding, and eventually has him killed, to be recycled for his body parts. The idea was old, but the treatment, with its cold evocation of Paranoia – all Frankenheimer's best films feature powerful conspiracies using technological means of manipulation (brainwashing in the case of 1962's The Manchurian Candidate) – was in advance of its time, anticipating the sombre conspiracy movies of the 1970s. Seconds is much helped by Hudson's heartfelt acting out of a soul at odds with its body-image, and James Wong Howe's moody, alienating black-and-white photography. [JB/PN]
see also: Cinema.
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