Before the showing of SECONDS at the TCM Film Festival, Cari Beauchamp interviewed Richard Anderson, now white-haired, who walked across the stage unaided. His voice hasn't changed; you'd recognize it with no trouble. Anderson always gave the impression of being a nice, intelligent man you'd like to have as a friend. He still does. Cari Beauchamp said that those of us who'd chosen to see SECONDS had made a great choice and that Frankenheimer stood high in her pantheon. I knew I liked this woman.
When John Frankenheimer interviewed Richard Anderson for the role of the plastic surgeon in SECONDS, he asked how Richard's life was going. Anderson said he was happily married with three daughters. Dead silence. Then Frankenheimer said that he had had that kind of life once and would now like to have that again. So we can conclude that this was a film with deep personal meaning for Frankenheimer. Rock Hudson campaigned hard for the lead role.
While the film was being made, either a producer or a studio executive said, in Anderson's hearing, "I don't know why we're making this picture. I don't really like it."
Cary Grant helped Richard Anderson get hired in Hollywood because Betsy Drake, then married to Cary, had seen Richard's stage work and liked his skill in comedy. When RA was told that Mr. Grant wanted him to call back, he thought it was a casting director at Republic. RA does a great impersonation of Cary Grant, who helped him get a part in Dream Wife.
RA said that in those days the studios paid a lot of young actors $300-$400/week, which was good money in those days, in the hope that 1 in 20 would hit big and justify the expense.
Cary Grant told him that you knew you'd arrived when you had the last line of a picture, which RA does in SECONDS. I don't, however, recall, any last lines spoken by Cary that referred to a cranial drill.
The print of SECONDS was the poorest I saw all weekend, with a good bit of scratching in some parts, but even so, James Wong Howe's cinematography was amazing and so was Frankenheimer's direction.