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  • Gareth Crook

Seconds (1966)

An early Frankenheimer outing. Saul Bass titles and tense opening shots through a bustling train station set the tone. The menace is palpable. Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) doesn’t want to be Mr Hamilton anymore. He’s in a black and white world of men in suits. A man with everything, but nothing. He’s lost, lacking purpose. He doesn’t know it, but a mysterious call from a deceased friend offers him a way out of the boredom, a new start, a second chance. Arthur may be bored, but I’m not. This is beautifully shot, expertly directed, it oozes class. It’s like a feature length episode of The Twilight Zone with a bigger budget. Arthur at first reluctant, realises he does need to make a change and so becomes Tony Wilson (now played by Rock Hudson), as is former life is killed off. Everything is taken care of. Paperwork, plastic surgery, freedom of a new unencumbered life. There’s no going back. What though of the psychological effects? Tony is now a painter, but seems a little uptight for his new vocation. Especially when he falls in with Nora (Salome Jens) who takes him to a party full of hippies getting high and naked in the countryside in an uncomfortably long sequence of wine infused merriment. He begins to settle in, but is he happy or just smashed? It loses its way a little for me in this second act, but things start to get really fun as Tony begins to struggle and finds himself a prisoner to his new world. Where is his dead friend, what are the company who facilitate all this really up to? It poses a lot of questions and answers some, but at its core, comes down to an interesting tale of self discovery wrapped up in a simple unnerving thriller.



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