Once stated: "One of the ultimate psychological thrillers, as if sprung from Kafka, about a man given the ability to start his life over with a new identity and career. Goldsmith’s wonderfully eerie and disquieting work was a key element to this film that looked and sounded like nothing previous." And one must be certain, you won't be the same after seeing this bizarre film (buy it here for an amazingly-low price! A steal!) that featured the underrated Rock Hudson! It's almost like some "agony of passion" that is partnered within this film, and one must un-pop the cork and then chew on it.
The Plot, as following, from the ever-wonderful Wiki: "Arthur Hamilton (played by John Randolph) is a middle-aged man whose life has lost purpose. He is disengaged at his job as a banker, and the love between him and his wife has dwindled. Through a friend whom he thought had died years earlier, Hamilton is approached by a secret organization, known simply as the "Company", which offers wealthy people a second chance at life. The Company, in the person of Mr. Ruby (played by Jeff Corey), interviews Hamilton, and resorts to blackmail to convince Hamilton to sign on, foreshadowing the unfortunate consequences of accepting the Company's assistance."
"The Company makes Hamilton appear to have died, by faking an accident with a corpse disguised as him. Through extensive plastic surgery and psychoanalysis, Hamilton is transformed into Tony Wilson (played by Rock Hudson) As Wilson, he has a new home, a new identity, new friends and a devoted manservant. The details of his new existence suggest that there was once a real Tony Wilson, but what became of him is a mystery."
"The remainder of the film follows Wilson as he copes with the consequences of his new identity. Relocated to a fancy home in Malibu, California, where he works as an already established artist, he commences a relationship with a young woman named Nora Marcus (played by Salome Jens) and for a time he is happy, but soon becomes troubled by the emotional confusion of his new identity, and by the exuberance of renewing his youth. At a dinner party he hosts for his neighbors, he drinks himself into a stupor and begins to babble about his former life as Hamilton. It turns out that his neighbors are "reborns" like himself, sent to keep an eye on his adjusting to his new life. Nora is actually an agent of the Company, and her attentions to Wilson are designed merely to ensure his cooperation."
"In violation of Company policy, Wilson visits his old wife in his new persona, and learns that his marriage failed because he was distracted by the pursuit of career and material possessions, the very things in life that others made him believe were important. He returns to the Company and announces a desire to start again with yet another identity. The Company offers to accommodate him, but asks if he would first provide the names of some past acquaintances who might like to be "reborn."
"While awaiting his reassignment, Wilson encounters Charlie Evans (played by Murray Hamilton), the friend who had originally recruited him into the Company. Evans was also "reborn", and also could not make a go of his new identity. Together, they speculate on the reason for their failure to adjust, attributing it to the fact that they allowed others, including the Company, to make their life choices for them. This realization comes too late, as Hamilton learns that failed reborns are not actually provided new identities, but instead become cadavers used to fake new clients' deaths."
In my opinion, John Frankenheimer is one of the most underrated film-directors in the history of cinema, and I truly believe that, for a vast number of reasons. The man who directed such masterpieces as Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days In May to name a few, doesn't often get the acknowledgements that he naturally deserves. Then again, maybe I am just beating around the bush, and am unaware of it if he has, but to my knowledge, it seems almost faint. Seconds is a must-see. You won't be let-down, believe me...