Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: John Frankenheimer

REVIEWED: 08-25-97

Rock Hudson, Salome Jens, John Randolph, Will Geer

Seconds, like Point Blank or Blowup, is classic Sixties -- the cinematography is consistently far-out, the parties are frantically groovy, and The Man lurks around every corner. Still, anyone who grokked Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate will love this bleakly comic horror story. Our protagonist (John Randolph) is a middle-aged square who's hounded by some shadowy corporation and a friend who "died" years ago. They convince him to surgically alter his appearance and disappear into a new life. When the bandages come off, he weeps with joy to see a handsome new face under all of the hideous stitches and sutures: Randolph has transformed into Rock Hudson. Though casting this mediocre screen hunk as an uptight businessman's alter ego was a stroke of pop genius for director Frankenheimer, it was Hudson's idea to have two actors play the lead, and his surprisingly thoughtful performance galvanizes this harrowing, cerebral thriller (and suggest Hudson's talents were under-utilized). A remake is currently underway, but it doesn't look promising -- they don't make 'em this "heavy" anymore.

--Chris Baker

Capsule Reviews

Other Films by John Frankenheimer
The Island of Dr. Moreau

Film Vault Suggested Links
The Thing
Invasion of the Body Snatchers

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