Klavan On The Culture

Tapson on "Seconds"

I really like the site Acculturated, where whippersnappers too smart for their own dad-gummed good ruminate on various aspects of popular culture from a non-pinched right wing perspective. I was especially pleased this week to see my pal Mark Tapson celebrate the new Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-Ray release of a film that scared the holy bejabbers out of me when I was a kid, and whose final moments still occasionally haunt me:  Seconds.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,” Henry Thoreau once wrote, and there was a time when I led such a life. I vividly recall sitting in my office once many years ago, working at a job that had nothing to do with who I was or wanted to be, and suddenly being so overwhelmed by the panicky realization that I was wasting my life, that I had the distinct sensation I was bursting out of my skin.

I changed direction after that, but untold numbers of others before and since came to a similar epiphany too late, and passed their remaining days wrestling with regret for a soul-numbing, unfulfilled life. Who among them wouldn’t have jumped at the opportunity to turn back the clock, be free of the trap they built for themselves, and get a fresh start, a second chance?

Last Tuesday the Criterion Collection released the DVD and Blu-ray of director John Frankenheimer’s Seconds, a 1966 cautionary tale which spins that yearning into aTwilight Zone-style, existential nightmare. It starred the hunky Rock Hudson, of all people – Hollywood’s beloved leading man at the time, more commonly associated with tame romantic comedies – in perhaps the most daring role of his career.

You can read the whole thing here — but be warned: it says “mild spoilers.”  I found them somewhat more than mild myself.