Seconds

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Released 1966

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Movie Summary

Director:
John Frankenheimer
Released:
1966
Rating:
R

Seconds is a Kafkaesque conundrum questioning received ideas about identity. Arthur Hamilton's life is dreary and miserable, the very definition of "boring". Although he has become an affluent New York banker, his wife draws ever further away from him, his daughter has left home and made him a grandfather, he's balding and paunchy and past 50 and he is tired of the numbing routine of his existence. But then he receives strange phone calls from his friend Charlie - who died years ago in a fire. There is, Charlie says, an organization which arranges "seconds" - second chances at life. Hamilton, through extreme plastic surgery, drastically alters his appearance, and after his "death" is faked (again in a fire), he assumes a new life as a painter in California, calling himself Wilson. With a renewed spirit and a fresh start, life initially seems great for the transformed Wilson, living a jet-set existence, and even falling in love. But the now young-seeming, handsome playboy soon finds out that his new lease on life could carry a very large price-tag, especially when problems begin to occur. This mysterious, dark allegory from director John Frankenheimer became a cult movie.

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      • John Frankenheimer originally intended that "Arthur Hamilton" and "Tony Wilson" be played by the same actor and had in mind either Laurence Olivier or Marlon Brando. However, Brando turned him down and he could not raise the finance for the film with Olivier in the lead. Rock Hudson told him he could not play both parts and so Frankenheimer split the roles. John Randolph had his first film role in 15 years as Hamilton.

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