starring Rock Hudson, John Randolph, Salome Jens, Frances Reid
screenplay by Lewis John Carlino, based on the novel by David Ely
directed by John Frankenheimer
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. For the longest time I wanted to write a book about John Frankenheimer, the crux of which would be a closer look at the relationship, if there was one, between the declining quality of his work and the assassination of his buddy Bobby Kennedy. It would be a cultural study, see, this way to tie the death of the Sixties with a director who for me definitively speaks to the rises and valleys of that decade, and who paved the way for the despairing paranoia flicks of the 1970s. In the end, I was defeated by the prospect of dealing with Frankenheimer's later films--not because they were all as bad as Prophecy (or that any of the others are near as bad as Prophecy, or that anything could be), but because many of them are really, really good in really, really difficult ways to quantify. Closer to the truth of his output post-RFK assassination is not that it's terrible, but that it's all Seconds again in some form or another: diaries of personal apocalypses and the constant threat of the dissolution of identity. Besides, I think there might be an entire book in 52 Pick-Up alone.