February 07 only

This film is part of our Mad Men Weekend with Matt Zoller Seitz. Read more about the series here.

A still from Joel Frankenheimer's 1966 film "Seconds."

“A horror-tinged thriller (or is it a sci-fi-inflected political parable?) about aging, alienation, and the American belief in starting over.” – Dana Stevens, Slate

Each screening will be accompanied by a video essay from film editor Serena Bramble, which Seitz will perform live. A book signing of Seitz’s latest book “Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion”, will also follow each screening.

See if this sounds familiar: a New York executive with a beautiful home and a beautiful wife and a regular routine that includes taking the train into Grand Central station decides one day that he’s had enough of his supposedly perfect life, adopts a new identity and goes off to California to become somebody else. That’s not too far from Don Draper’s story on Mad Men (though with a lot more complications and a Dickensian back story), but this film from director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate) and screenwriter Lewis John Carlino adds Twilight Zone atmosphere and dashes of science fiction allegory: the hero, initially played by John Randolph, gets plastic surgery that gives him Rock Hudson’s face, plus a new career as an up-and-coming gallery artist, and the people who hook him up are part of a bizarre Amway-like organization based around “referrals.” Shot in monochrome and occasionally fish-eye by James Wong Howe (who also shot Sweet Smell of Success), Seconds is one of the oddest studio films of the 1960s, and one one of the most haunting.

1966, 106, 35mm



SECONDS: Upcoming Showtimes