Seconds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.77:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was an appealing presentation.
Overall definition was very good. Occasional softness appeared but seemed to result from various photography techniques, not due to issues with the transfer. Those moments remained mild infrequent anyway, so that caused no real distractions. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to occur, and I noticed no signs of edge haloes.
With a solid layer of grain, I didn’t suspect any problematic noise reduction techniques, and print flaws failed to mar the image. Blacks looked dark and deep, and low-light shots displayed nice clarity and opacity. This ended up as a consistently strong rendition of the film.
I also found no reason to complain about the LPCM monaural soundtrack of Seconds, as it remained satisfying for its age. Some iffy looping occasionally marred the dialogue, but the lines usually appeared concise and integrated fine with the action.
Music tended to be peppy and full, as the track reproduced the score well. Effects also seemed pretty good; they didn’t have a ton to do in this character piece, but they remained accurate and distinctive enough. Nothing problematic occurred during this generally good track.
When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director John Frankenheimer. Recorded in 1997, he gives us a running, screen-specific look at the opening credits, cinematography and visual design, sets and locations, editing and music, cast and performances, script issues, and a few other areas.
At times, Frankenheimer gives us good information, and we find some fun stories. For instance, he tells us how he got crowds to leave the crew alone when they filmed at Grand Central Station. However, Frankenheimer spends too much time on technical issues - the track becomes a love letter to DP James Wong Howe - and also comes with too many dead spots. There's enough meat to merit a listen, but it's an inconsistent track.
Under Alec Baldwin on Seconds, we get a 14-minute, 21-second appreciation from the actor. He talks about Frankenheimer as well as an appreciation for Seconds. Baldwin mixes those sides well and delivers an enjoyable collection of thoughts.
The 18-minute, 37-second A Second Look includes notes from Frankenheimer’s widow Evans and actor Salome Jens. They chat about characters and story, cast and performances, photography, and some other aspects of the film. Evans Frankenheimer mostly just reiterates notes her husband provided in the commentary, but Jens delivers a lot of fresh material. She helps make this a worthwhile show.
Next comes a “visual essay” called Palmer and Pomerance on Seconds. In this 12-minute, 38-second piece, film scholars R. Barton Palmer and Murrary Pomerance cover Frankenheimer’s work and themes as well as analysis of Seconds. Some interesting information appears, but the stilted delivery makes this a program that doesn’t really engage.
Within Archival Footage domain, we get two elements. “John Frankenheimer” lasts 10 minutes, 26 seconds and provides a 1971 Canadian TV interview with the director, while “Hollywood on the Hudson” goes for four minutes, 18 seconds and delivers a short clip from a WNBC news program. Both are good, though I probably like “Hudson” more since it gives us glimpses of the shoot.
Finally, the package features a 20-page booklet. This mixes photos and credits with an essay by film professor David Sterritt. It provides a nice complement to the set.
While I admire its ambition and respect its influence, as a film, I can’t say Seconds does a lot for me. It meanders too much and lacks a good lead performance from its star. The Blu-ray delivers solid picture and audio along with an informative set of supplements. While I’m not wild about the movie, this release presents it well.