I have always admired “John Frankenheimer”:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001239/’s best work. Films like “The Manchurian Candidate”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056218/, “Seven Days in May”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058576/ and “French Connection II”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073018/ are well-known (at least among film buffs). I even liked “Ronin”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0122690/ one of the last films he worked on before he died.
I just saw one of his early films (1966) that I feel was at least as good as his famous ones but has received less attention – Seconds. It’s a trenchant commentary on materialism and an emotionally gripping, imaginatively shot parable based on the (not particularly original) idea of faking your own death to have another chance to live your life. It isn’t hard to figure out from almost the beginning how it will end but I was consistently engaged throughout. If you can get ahold of it at your local cult video store do try (North Americans you can apparently get it on DVD or video “from Amazon”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005RDAJ/imdb-adbox/002-2907813-7514440).
P.S. I didn’t realise – “Jonathan Demme”:http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001129/ is producing “his own version of The Manchurian Candidate”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368008/ (the director is “interviewed on NPR”:http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=29-Jul-2004&prgId=2).