Classic Sci-Fi Thriller Is The Best Unofficial Twilight Zone Movie, Stream Without Netflix

By Brian Myers | Published

With a plot that’s akin to an episode of The Twilight Zone, the 1966 thriller Seconds is a must-see for anyone looking for a science fiction classic that time had nearly forgotten. The Seconds movie, though not well-received during its theatrical release, has modern critics and film buffs raving about it, generating a demand that can only be filled by streaming services.

Thankfully, Amazon and Kanopy have both risen to the occasion and made this classic available for a new generation of audiences.

A Man’s Mundane Life Forever Changed

The Seconds movie is a thriller in which the lead character, Arthur Hamilton, has grown bored and somewhat regretful with his life and career choice. His loveless marriage and unfulfilling job as a banker help to frame the life of a hum-drum middle-aged man who is about to be visited by an eerie fate.

Arthur (brilliantly played by screen legend Rock Hudson) is phoned by an old friend that he had believed to be long dead. At first in disbelief that he is talking to his childhood pal, Charlie, Arthur is convinced that Charlie is real after the man on the phone recalls various stories and situations that only the real Charlie would know. Charlie tells Arthur to visit an address, where Arthur’s life will change forever as the Seconds movie is about to take a weird turn.

A New Life

Charlie sets Arthur up with an agency that gives him a new identity so that he can begin a new life as an artist in a different part of the country. Arthur undergoes facial reconstructive surgeries that make him unrecognizable, a new name, and is sent to live with other “reborns” in California. But as Arthur struggles to follow the new rules he’s supposed to abide by, chilling consequences await him as the Seconds movie continues.

Filmgoers Hated The Movie At Release

The Seconds movie debuted at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival to an unappreciative audience. Filmgoers booed the movie when the end credits began rolling, a sure sign of the beating that Seconds would take at the box office after its theatrical release. The sci-fi thriller indeed bombed, taking in only $1.75 million against its budget of $2.5 million.

Despite the failure of the film to capture a wide audience in its first run at theaters, the Seconds movie had some high points. Seconds was nominated for the Palme d’Or, the highest honor given at Cannes, though it ultimately lost to Claude Lelouch for the film A Man and a Woman. Cinematographer James Wong Howe was nominated for an Academy Award, as well.

The Director Went On Making More Classics

robert de niro

Though the Seconds movie had the stuff a great film is made from, it never landed with the audiences of its day. A magnificent score from Oscar-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith, excellent casting, and great screenplay gave the director a lot to work with. Thankfully, the box office bomb didn’t seem to impact the trajectory of John Frankenheimer’s career.

Seconds movie director John Frankenheimer had already earned a stellar reputation as a Hollywood director when he was tapped to take control of the set in this forgotten classic. Frankenheimer already had notched the successful films The Birdman of Alcatraz and The Manchurian Candidate on his ever-expanding belt of films and went on to direct dozens more over the decades, including Reindeer Games, Ronin, and Black Sunday.

Where To Stream Seconds

Alongside star Rock Hudson, the Seconds movie features Frank Campanella, Frances Reid, John Randolph, and Barbara Werle. You can stream the Seconds from multiple sources, including Amazon and Kanopy.