DVD Review: Seconds (Masters of Cinema)

Even as far back as 1966 Americans were suffering from the boredom of suburban normality. Whether as a result of a hangover from the war or a general malaise through the burgeoning middle classes, there was a growing shifting of priorities towards material goods and the breaking down of the traditional family unit. John Frankenheimer uses this as the starting point in Seconds, merging horror, thriller, science fiction with social commentary.

Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is a middle-aged businessman who is dissatisfied with his boring life. Apathetic and wading through life he’s become distant from his family, whilst success in business no longer motivates him. When he’s contacted by a friend he believed to be dead, Arthur comes into contact with a shady organisation known as The Company. He’s offered a second chance, the body of a young artist called Tony Wilson (Rock Hudson), but struggles to adapt to the change.

Seconds is an interesting concept which has some beautiful cinematography courtesy of Oscar nominee James Wong Howe. This creates and atmosphere of mystery and disorientates in a way which we can associate with the lead. Unfortunately, after the transformation Seconds all too often lapses into social commentary, and whilst the horror still persists (including an improbably off-putting Californian Bacchanal), it loses much of the more interesting suspense and science fiction aspects to drama.

Special Features:

  • Gorgeous 4K restoration, in 1080p HD on the Blu-ray
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Two Feature-length audio commentaries: one by director John Frankenheimer, and one by film scholar Adrian Martin
  • New video interview with novelist and critic Kim Newman
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Booklet featuring new essays by critics David Cairns and Mike Sutton

Seconds is released on Dual Format by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema collection on Monday.

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