Two Seconds (1932)

 |  Drama, Thriller  |  28 May 1932 (USA)
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A condemned murderer, in the process of being executed, relives the events that led to his being sentenced to die in the electric chair.



(play), (adaptation) (as Harvey Thew)
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Complete credited cast:
Vivienne Osborne ...
Tony (as J. Carroll Naish)
Frederick Burton ...
Harry Beresford ...
Dorothea Wolbert ...
Lizzie, Cleaning Lady
The Warden
William Janney ...
College Boy at Execution
Edward McWade ...
The Prison Doctor
Gladys Lloyd ...


Allen claims he his being executed for the wrong murder. Flashbacks show him working with Clark as a riveter. When he makes a killing on the horses he meets Shirley and gets married. When Clark tells him Shirley is unfaithful they fight and Clark falls to his death. Later he finds that Clark was telling the truth. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In two seconds he became the slave of the woman he hated! Two blinding, flashing seconds that stripped him of honor and branded his soul!


Drama | Thriller





Release Date:

28 May 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dois Segundos  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The premise behind this film was previously used in The Last Moment (1928). See more »


The Warden: All set?
Executioner: Yes, sir.
The Warden: Then we'll start the parade.
See more »


Referenced in Public Enemies: The Golden Age of the Gangster Film (2008) See more »


Lucky Day
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung by Preston Foster
Also played when Bud and John are waiting for the bookie
See more »

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User Reviews

excellent precode
4 June 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Edward G. Robinson again shows what a powerful actor he was in "Two Seconds," a precode from 1932 directed by Mervyn LeRoy. The two seconds refers to the time it takes a man to die in the electric chair.

Robinson plays John Allen, who is condemned to death and about to be executed. As he waits for the electric current, he relives how he wound up there.

Allen and his best friend, Bud (Preston Foster) were welders on a huge building. That part of the story was probably inspired by the Empire State Building, which opened to the public in 1931.

Bud wants his girlfriend to find a girl for John so they can double date, but John hates the women Bud's girlfriend finds for him. And the current on is no exception. He leaves the three of them and goes to a dime a dance joint. There, he meets a pretty young woman who dances there, Shirley, and they start to date. Bud thinks she's a gold digger and handing him a big line, and warns John that he's going to end up married and miserable. John pays no attention.

One night, he gets blotto drunk and Shirley manages to get him to a Justice of the Peace and tie the knot. Bud confronts her, and we see more of Shirley's true colors as she undresses in front of Bud and plans to get the marriage consummated before John sobers up and wants an annulment.

John was making good money, but Shirley spends it faster than he can make it. When tragedy strikes, John is a completely broken man and can no longer work and Shirley goes back to the dime a dance joint. More tragedy will follow.

Very absorbing film, with an excellent performance by Robinson for those times - I say that because acting today has been toned down some, and he has a huge monologue that today seems a little over the top.

In the beginning of the film, we see a closeup of a college student (William Janney) who attends the execution as part of research for a paper. The film ends with the same closeup.

Very, very well done. Robinson was part of a small group of character actors who rose to leading man status - Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, and Wallace Beery. He was an actor of tremendous range and ability, and it shows here.

Highly recommended, a great precode.

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