Year: 1966

Production: Paramount

Director: John Frankenheimer

Starring: Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph, Will Geer

Screenwriter: Lewis John Carlino

Based on Seconds (1963) by David Ely

106 minutes; B/W

A middle-aged businessman (Hudson) pays a large sum to have his death faked and his youth restored by futuristic surgery, so that he can start a new life. 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 somber conspiracy movies of the 1970s. Seconds is much helped by James Wong Howe's moody, alienating black-and-white photography.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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