Saturday, September 11, 2010


Tapaus Wilson (tv title 2010) / Tapaus Wilson 714 (cinema title 1967) / Död man lever. USA (c) 1966 Paramount Pictures / Joel Productions / Gibraltar Productions. P: John Frankenheimer, Edward Lewis. D: John Frankenheimer. SC: Lewis John Carlino - based on the novel by David Ely (1963). DP: James Wong Howe - b&w. AD: Ted Haworth. Hair stylist for Salome Jens: Sydney Guilaroff. M: Jerry Goldsmith. S: Joe Edmondson, John Wilkinson. ED: David Newhouse, Ferris Webster. Title designer: Saul Bass. LOC for Tony Wilson's place: John Frankenheimer's own home. CAST: Rock Hudson (Antiochus "Tony" Wilson), Salome Jens (Nora Marcus), John Randolph (Arthur Hamilton), Will Geer (Old Man), Jeff Corey (Mr. Ruby), Richard Anderson (Dr. Innes), Murray Hamilton (Charlie Evans), Karl Swenson (Dr. Morris), Kgigh Dhiegh (Davalo). At 25 fps: 103 min (which means this is the 1996 re-release cut, 107 min at 24 fps). Transmitted by YLE Teema 28 Aug 2010 with Finnish subtitles, viewed from the DVR at home, 11 Sep 2010

Thanks to the tip of Kalle Kinnunen I recorded a rare transmission of this film on the DVR. It was the full 107 min cut that was re-released in 1996. In Finland the original release was also 107 min / 2925 m. If the matter of cutting was about full nudity, Nordic countries have been always nonchalant about that, especially Finland the country of the sauna.

The title Seconds means second incarnations, "reborns".

I saw for the first time properly (I may have seen a dubbed vhs of this long ago) this legendary modern horror and science fiction film. It is an intelligent satire about "a second chance". It belongs to John Frankenheimer's best period. The visual style is experimental and Expressionistic. James Wong Howe uses special lenses, field sizes and angles consistently, and his visual approach is a contemporary counterpart to the German classics of the 1920s (Schatten, Caligari, Waxworks).

Arthur Hamilton the successful banking executive is tired of his life and gets the chance to start a second life as a Bohemian painter on Malibu beach with the face of Rock Hudson (thanks to plastic surgery). On the beach, Rock Hudson meets a woman (Salome Jens) who becomes his girlfriend. Even a Bacchanal is started, with all guests in the nude thronging in a barrel full of grapes to press them with their feet. But then Rock realizes everybody surrounding him are reborns or people on the company payroll.

The most profound sequence of the movie is Rock's return to his original home, where he, unrecognized by his wife, hears for the first time what it was like at the successful businessman's home.

The film proceeds uncompromisingly to its surprise ending. This is not a good date movie. Brian Wilson lost his mental balance when he saw it. But this is a first rate horror and science fiction movie.

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