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HISTORY

The 30 Jan 1964 DV announced Seconds as an upcoming project for producer Edward Lewis and director John Frankenheimer. Lewis's production partner, Kirk Douglas, was expected to star in the film, according to the 19 Feb 1964 DV. Nearly a year later, however, the 22 Jan 1965 issue stated that Rock Hudson would assume the lead role, with participation from his own company, Gibraltar Productions. It was noted in the 8 Apr 1965 DV that Gibraltar was one of four production companies involved in the project. The others were Douglas & Lewis Productions, Frankenheimer's Joel Productions, and Paramount Pictures, which also provided funding and distribution. Principal photography began 14 Jun 1965, as stated in that day's DV.
       The 1 Jul 1965 edition revealed that the $2.5 million production employed an innovative system, which provided "complete lighting of sets for closeups, longshots, etc., sans separate setups, plus the use of ceilinged-sets." Although friends and colleagues tried to dissuade Hudson from starring in the science-fiction drama, the actor argued that he needed to expand his range beyond the romantic comedies with which he was commonly identified.
       The 24 Aug 1965 DV mentioned the company's recent return to Los Angeles, CA, from New York City. In the 25 Aug 1965 DV, Frankenheimer commended his New York crew members for assisting him in finishing the four-day shoot on schedule, particularly "standby cameraman" Bill Kelly. Locations included Grand Central Station and the town of Scarsdale, NY. The 29 Aug 1965 NYT explained that Frankenheimer ... More Less

The 30 Jan 1964 DV announced Seconds as an upcoming project for producer Edward Lewis and director John Frankenheimer. Lewis's production partner, Kirk Douglas, was expected to star in the film, according to the 19 Feb 1964 DV. Nearly a year later, however, the 22 Jan 1965 issue stated that Rock Hudson would assume the lead role, with participation from his own company, Gibraltar Productions. It was noted in the 8 Apr 1965 DV that Gibraltar was one of four production companies involved in the project. The others were Douglas & Lewis Productions, Frankenheimer's Joel Productions, and Paramount Pictures, which also provided funding and distribution. Principal photography began 14 Jun 1965, as stated in that day's DV.
       The 1 Jul 1965 edition revealed that the $2.5 million production employed an innovative system, which provided "complete lighting of sets for closeups, longshots, etc., sans separate setups, plus the use of ceilinged-sets." Although friends and colleagues tried to dissuade Hudson from starring in the science-fiction drama, the actor argued that he needed to expand his range beyond the romantic comedies with which he was commonly identified.
       The 24 Aug 1965 DV mentioned the company's recent return to Los Angeles, CA, from New York City. In the 25 Aug 1965 DV, Frankenheimer commended his New York crew members for assisting him in finishing the four-day shoot on schedule, particularly "standby cameraman" Bill Kelly. Locations included Grand Central Station and the town of Scarsdale, NY. The 29 Aug 1965 NYT explained that Frankenheimer arranged for a decoy shoot at Grand Central Station to distract likely onlookers from noticing the actual filming elsewhere in the station. The decoy scene featured a young man and a blonde woman, rumored to be a Playboy Club "bunny" waitress, with screenwriter John Lewis Carlino posing as director. Over the course of several retakes, the woman stripped down to a bikini.
       Casting announcements included John Francis (10 May 1965 DV); Frankenheimer's wife, Evans Evans (15 Jun 1965 DV); Robert Gist (16 Jun 1965 DV); Jane Wald (18 Jun 1965 DV); Peg Shirley and Leonard Nimoy (28 Jun 1965 DV); Victoria Meyerink (1 Jul 1965 DV); Dick Kimble (13 Jul 1965 DV); Carl Saxe (14 Jul 1965 DV); Peggy Sands (15 Jul 1965 DV); Brenda Shayne and Coliene Murphy (16 Jul 1965 DV); Paul Kent and Ronnie Dunas (20 Jul 1965 DV); John Brokenshire and Charles Russell (22 Jul 1965 DV); Gloria Jorgenson, Connie Ducharme, and Ida Romero (26 Jul 1965 DV); Clay Turner (2 Aug 1965 LAT). The 30 Jun 1965 DV credited Milt Watt as publicist, and Tom Conroy as dialog director.
       According to an article in the 13 Jul 1965 LAT, only the hospital sequences were filmed at Paramount studios, while all others were on location. Hospital sets, including "wavy floors, transparent ceilings and walls, suspended beds, tapering perspectives and doors that some how (sic) seem too small to go through" were created to demonstrate the protagonist's point of view. Frankenheimer told the 14 Nov 1966 LAT that the wine festival scenes were filmed during an actual event that occurred annually near Santa Barbara, CA. Director of photography James Wong Howe reportedly used seven hand-held cameras to capture the action. Additional location work took place in Malibu, CA. The 21 Mar 1966 LAT noted that principal photography was completed sometime during Aug 1965.
       The 20 Jan 1966 DV stated that Frankenheimer had no intention of previewing the film, as he wanted to retain its shock value. Seconds debuted at the Cannes International Film Festival on 16 May 1966, where it was nominated for a Palme d'Or award. The 17 May 1966 NYT reported derisive laughter from viewers during a press screening. Nearly two months later, the 12 Jul 1966 DV blamed the negative reaction at Cannes on subtitles that were not consistent with the dialogue. Rock Hudson assured that future foreign prints would be dubbed with accurate translations.
       The 31 Aug 1966 DV noted that a screening was held for fifty members of the Southern California Theatre Owners Association (SCTOA). Openings were planned for the organization's National Movie Month campaign in Oct 1966.
       Seconds opened 5 Oct 1966 in New York City, and 9 Nov 1966 in Los Angeles. While the 23 May 1966 DV stated that the film did not succeed "as a thriller, sci-fi adjunct or philosophical fable," the 6 Oct 1966 NYT found "its tensions and terrors" to be "genuinely fascinating." James Wong Howe received an Academy Award nomination for Cinematography, Black-and-White.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
30 Jan 1964
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Feb 1964
p. 1.
Daily Variety
22 Jan 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
10 May 1965
p. 6.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1965
p. 3.
Daily Variety
15 Jun 1965
p. 2.
Daily Variety
16 Jun 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
18 Jun 1965
p. 20.
Daily Variety
28 Jun 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
30 Jun 1965
p. 3, 4.
Daily Variety
1 Jul 1965
p. 1, 2.
Daily Variety
13 Jul 1965
p. 10.
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
15 Jul 1965
p. 5.
Daily Variety
16 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
22 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1965
p. 4.
Daily Variety
25 Aug 1965
p. 1, 11.
Daily Variety
20 Jan 1966
p. 22.
Daily Variety
21 Apr 1966
p. 1.
Daily Variety
29 Apr 1966
p. 17.
Daily Variety
23 May 1966
p. 3, 4.
Daily Variety
12 Jul 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
24 Oct 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
26 Oct 1966
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Nov 1966
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1965
p. 18.
Los Angeles Times
13 Jul 1965
Section C, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1965
Section D, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
21 Mar 1966
Section C, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
6 Nov 1966
Section B, p. 19.
Los Angeles Times
10 Nov 1966
Section D, p. 22.
Los Angeles Times
14 Nov 1966
Section D, p. 22.
New York Times
29 Aug 1965
Section X, p. 9.
New York Times
17 May 1966
p. 53.
New York Times
5 Oct 1966
p. 38.
New York Times
6 Oct 1966
p. 53.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Miss Jens's hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
Paintings
Main titles
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Seconds by David Ely (New York, 1963).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"That Old Black Magic," words and music by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen
"Love Is Just Around the Corner," words and music by Leo Robin and Lewis E. Gensler.
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 October 1966
Premiere Information:
Cannes Film Festival debut: 16 May 1966
New York opening: 5 October 1966: Los Angeles opening: 9 November 1966
Production Date:
14 June--August 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Douglas & Lewis Productions
Copyright Date:
14 September 1966
Copyright Number:
LP33179
Duration(in mins):
106
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Discontented middle-aged Scarsdale banker Arthur Hamilton is contacted by Charlie, a friend believed dead, and persuaded to submit to radical plastic surgery performed by a mysterious company. Transformed into a much younger man, he is relocated in California and given the identity of Antiochus Wilson, an established painter. Although he falls in love with the uninhibited Nora Marcus, Arthur quickly discovers that she is a company employee and his new friends mutants like himself. Disgusted, he returns to his Scarsdale home. He is, however, so altered that his wife does not recognize him. Unable to adjust to his new life, Arthur asks the company to restore him to his former self. When Arthur cannot refer another client to the organization, he is bound to a stretcher, gagged, given last rites by a nondenominational clergyman, and wheeled into an operating room to be ... +


Discontented middle-aged Scarsdale banker Arthur Hamilton is contacted by Charlie, a friend believed dead, and persuaded to submit to radical plastic surgery performed by a mysterious company. Transformed into a much younger man, he is relocated in California and given the identity of Antiochus Wilson, an established painter. Although he falls in love with the uninhibited Nora Marcus, Arthur quickly discovers that she is a company employee and his new friends mutants like himself. Disgusted, he returns to his Scarsdale home. He is, however, so altered that his wife does not recognize him. Unable to adjust to his new life, Arthur asks the company to restore him to his former self. When Arthur cannot refer another client to the organization, he is bound to a stretcher, gagged, given last rites by a nondenominational clergyman, and wheeled into an operating room to be murdered. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.