USA Today - 01/11/2002
"...A onetime flop tuned major cult movie, the picture begins and ends superbly....One of the most thoroughly uncompromised major studio releases made before 1970..."
John Frankenheimer's chilling vision of middle-aged malaise concerns 50ish banker, Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph). Bored with his wife and comfortably retired life, Arthur happens to run into Charlie Evans (Murray Hamilton), an old friend he believed to be dead. He gives Arthur a tip on a secret organization called The Company, run by the Old Man (Will Geer). For a hefty fee, they offer to provide the old with entirely new, vigorous bodies, through a mysterious form of plastic surgery, and with completely new identities. Arthur signs on and finds himself transformed into the much younger Anitochus "Tony" Wilson (Rock Hudson). After a suitably middle-aged corpse has been burned to cover his disappearance, Tony is relocated to an idyllic Malibu beach community, where he already has a reputation as an artist. He begins a relationship with the vivacious Norma Marcus (Salome Jens) and is happy for a time, before discovering that she's one of The Company's employees. As he peels back the layers from his other neighbors, he begins to realize that nothing is as it seems. This incisive twist on the Faust legend, a mordant commentary on the American obsession with youth, features Hudson in what is possibly his finest performance, as a man cast in a part he despises. Hudson's sense of irony, then necessarily private, is now public. The great cinematographer James Wong Howe creates a sense of quiet horror through a skillful variation of lenses.
The censored cult classic debuts on video in its original, European-release, unexpurgated version. Over-the-hill financial whiz Arthur Hamilton can buy anything but his lost youth--or so it seems. A trip under the knife, a new identity, and a new lifestyle bring temporary relief from his ennui, but at a horrifying cost to his soul. Contains the nudity deleted from the film for its domestic theatrical release. Adapted from the novel by David Ely. Academy Award Nominations: Best (Black and White) Cinematography.
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