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Split Second (1953)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  2 May 1953 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 665 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 8 critic

Sam Hurley, "Nation's No. 1 killer" with a cold contempt for "heroes," escapes prison with two companions and takes a mixed bag of hostages to Nevada ghost town Lost Hope City. He knows ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Split Second (1953)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stephen McNally ...
Sam Hurley
...
Kay Garven
...
Dottie Vale
Keith Andes ...
Larry Fleming
Arthur Hunnicutt ...
Asa Tremaine
Paul Kelly ...
Bart Moore
Robert Paige ...
Arthur Ashton
Richard Egan ...
Doctor Neal Garven
...
Dummy (as Frank de Kova)
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Storyline

Sam Hurley, "Nation's No. 1 killer" with a cold contempt for "heroes," escapes prison with two companions and takes a mixed bag of hostages to Nevada ghost town Lost Hope City. He knows they won't be found there because an atom-bomb test is planned for next morning! Relationships shift and tension builds as Hurley keeps the others in suspense as to whether he will let them escape before bomb time. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

SUSPENSE That Screams! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Atomexplosion in Nevada  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Hurley & gang are in the car driven by Kay Garven and her fur coat is laid over the seat. In an ensuing scene the coat is missing and is back in another scene. See more »

Quotes

Larry Fleming: You don't think very much of people, do you?
Sam Hurley: I don't think very much of anything.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skullduggery (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Intensity Never Flags
10 February 2005 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

A cultish favourite that is often listed for festivals of noir cinema, this work is less noirish than it is a clear example from the Theatre of Paranoia, as Dick Powell's directorial debut melds nuclear explosion fears with a harrowing hostage taking by two escaped convicts fleeing from a Nevada prison. The escapees, Sam (Stephen McNally) and Bart (Paul Kelly) helped by mute accomplice Dummy (Frank DeKova), take refuge in an abandoned mining town, Yucca Flats, along with six prisoners they acquire during their flight, despite their awareness that the desert ghost town is within a nuclear test site where, in 12 hours, a combined military force is going to explode a tower bomb armed with high grade scissile plutonium. Sam believes that he and his two cohorts will be able to evade a protective army encirclement and escape prior to the blast, but the uncertain fate of their hapless hostages becomes the oarlock for the film's atmosphere of foreboding, with one of the captives, played by Keith Andes, being a Las Vegas newspaper reporter who has full knowledge of the detonation schedule, having attended planning meetings during which the event's timetable has been established. For Powell's initial effort as a director of features, he selects a restricted environment, essentially one large room, as setting for his limited cast of featured players, with the bomb becoming an additional sinister character. Following initial lead-in scenes, including interlaced footage of actual soldiers and military technicians, a stage mise-en-scène is established to advance an atmosphere of suspense. Unfortunately, Powell's inexperience with ensemble work is in evidence here, as the players generally simply take turns with their readings, although a good deal of the dialogue is trenchant. The villainous trio is the most interesting of the cast, with Kelly taking the acting palm for his strong yet low-keyed turn as one who was severely wounded during the prison break, and Richard Egan is convincing as a physician gulled into performing surgery upon Bart, while on the distaff side talented Jan Sterling handily outperforms the histrionic Alexis Smith. Shot in California's Mojave Desert, this work benefits from R.K.O.s master cinematographer with black and white stock, Nick Musuraca, and there is an appropriately dramatic score from Roy Webb. A nearly fatal flaw is the artless attitude toward the dangerous effects of atomic radiation, although it must be conceded that applicable information available to the general public was scanty at the time of the film's production.


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