MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 36,767 this week

Split Second (1953)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  2 May 1953 (USA)
6.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 675 users  
Reviews: 28 user | 9 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 »

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 460 titles
created 17 Apr 2012
 
a list of 10000 titles
created 26 Jun 2012
 
a list of 89 titles
created 23 Dec 2012
 
a list of 605 titles
created 08 Jul 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Split Second" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Split Second (1953)

Split Second (1953) on IMDb 6.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Split Second.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

On trial for murder, Larry Ballantyne regurgitates an unbelievable story. He recounts how he philanders to other women while his rich loving wife Gretta tries to keep him in line. According... See full summary »

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Robert Young, Susan Hayward, Jane Greer
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Are we watching a remake of 'it happened one night'?

Director: Dick Powell
Stars: June Allyson, Jack Lemmon, Charles Bickford
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1940, a former prisoner is determined to find the killer of the New York Police Lt. who helped him escape from a Nazi torture camp in Spain.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: John Garfield, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A psychotherapist attempts to rehabilitate a convict in his home after he breaks in. The criminal cooperates rather than being handed over to the police. The therapist's wife becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Losey
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Alexis Smith, Alexander Knox
The Hunters (1958)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In 1952, as the Korean War rages on, American officers land in Kyoto. Among them are Major Ceve Saville, assigned to a fighter squadron, and Lieutenant Carl Abbott. The latter neglects his ... See full summary »

Director: Dick Powell
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Robert Wagner, Richard Egan
Jeopardy (1953)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man vacationing with his wife and son near a desolate jetty in Baja becomes trapped under a rotten timber as the inevitable tide threatens to drown him.

Director: John Sturges
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Barry Sullivan, Ralph Meeker
Split Second (1992)
Action | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In a futuristic London, the rising sea levels mean that large areas are under feet of water. Hauer plays a cop who previously lost his partner to some strange creature. Now the creature is ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Maylam
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, Alastair Duncan
Caged (1950)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A naive nineteen year old widow becomes coarsened and cynical when she is sent to a woman's prison and is exposed to hardened criminals and sadistic guards.

Director: John Cromwell
Stars: Eleanor Parker, Agnes Moorehead, Ellen Corby
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jerry McKibbon is a tough, no nonsense reporter, mentoring special prosecutor John Conroy in routing out corrupt officials in the city, which may even include Conroy's own police detective father as a suspect.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: William Holden, Edmond O'Brien, Alexis Smith
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When Clementi Suborin is found murdered, his secretary recounts to the police the story of his rise from Czech refugee to ultra-rich New Yorker. The tale of betrayal, womanising and fraud ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Martin
Stars: George Sanders, Yvonne De Carlo, Zsa Zsa Gabor
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A family struggles to try to put their life back together after the eldest son is convicted of, and then executed for, murder.

Director: Terence Young
Stars: André Morell, Flora Robson, Michael Denison
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A lonely, mentally unbalanced woman invents a fictitious daughter and has the "daughter" write to a Marine stationed in the South Pacific. When the soldier returns back to the States, he ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: William Terry, Virginia Grey, Helene Thimig
Edit

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)
Edit

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:

Action! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

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  »
Edit

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
It only takes a split second decision to change your life…
30 May 2008 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

As the credits rolled across the opening scene, I lost interest in the words as I tried to figure out what I was looking at: a high angle shot of a shimmering expanse that looked like slick, crazy paving, and with muted, keyed lighting spilling down the screen centre, almost like a searchlight. I blinked more than once, trying to focus properly, and then saw the two, long, moving shadows that eventually resolved to the silhouettes of two men running towards me, on what now showed itself to be the cracked and parched desert earth. As they disappeared off camera, I knew those men were running for their lives...

From that superb opener, the rest of this story unfolds with relentless fury as the two – escapees from a penitentiary – join a third, with an escape car, and set off to retrieve a cache of cash from a secret location. The convicts are Sam Hurley (Stephen McNally, in one his best roles), Bart Moore (Paul Kelly) with a bullet in his stomach, acquired in the break-out, and Dummy (Frank De Kova) who only says what he wants with a gun.

The three stop for gas where Hurley quickly displays his psychopathology when he casually kills the attendant who resists; Hurley's action is almost like swatting a fly. They wait then for their next victim – because the cops are looking for three escaped cons, and they want to cover their tracks.

A large limo pulls in for gas, and the cons force their way into the car where Kay Garven (Alexis Smith) and Arthur Ashton (Robert Paige) are in the throes of a love affair that, from the intro between the two a few scenes earlier, appears to be going sour. So, the whole party continues under Hurley's surly orders and direction. That is, until they run out of gas – something Kay forgot to tell Hurley, much to his displeasure. So, they sit at the road side, and wait for another useful victim...

And that soon arrives in the form of Larry Fleming (Keith Andes), a well known news reporter and Dottie Vale (Jan Sterling), an attractive blonde down on her luck and just hitching a ride with Larry. So, when they stop to help Kay who was acting as bait, Hurley once again steps in to step on Larry's plans this time. Good job Larry had a much bigger car – a station wagon that can accommodate all seven of them.

Hurley then tells Larry to drive to a ghost town in the desert where he will link up with another con with another vehicle, due late that night. But first, he has to get Bart fixed up, get that bullet out with the help of Dr Garven (Richard Egan), Kay's estranged husband. Hurley calls the doctor on a phone and tells him he'll kill Kay if he fails to come and fix Bart...

The last piece of the setup falls into place when Larry tells Hurley that the ghost town is only a mile from ground zero: a nuclear test is due for detonation at 6 the next morning. Hurley doesn't care: he's got plenty of time, he thinks. Unknown to all of them, however, that time is changed to 5 a.m. to take advantage of the good weather.

With that all in place, the action is then contained on a single stage for the next hour, as the clock ticks down to zero hour and as Hurley waits to get Bart fixed. Later, old Asa Tremaine (Arthur Hunnicutt) turns up to provide pivotal support for the other hostages, and almost steals the show, for my money.

Director Powell – one of my favorite film-noir actors – does an excellent job as a first-timer behind the camera: well done interlaced editing as the separate stories are shown and eventually come together at the ghost town; appropriate black and white photography; and a well constructed claustrophobic mise-en-scene in the ramshackle bar in the ghost town – reminiscent of that rundown hotel in Key Largo (1948) as the hurricane approaches. Add to that the standard footage showing the preparations to detonate an atom bomb, and the viewer is set for a taut nail-biter.

McNally surpasses all in this film and delivers some of the best lines, along with Jan Sterling. Paul Kelly is very effective as Hurley's older friend – but one who begins to question Hurley's judgment. And Frank De Kova is chillingly dangerous, at all times. Alexis Smith is the quintessential, low-life femme fatale, who makes the fatal error of hitching a ride with Hurley. Keith Andes is credible but somewhat wooden, to be kind, but does show the spunk of heroes when danger beckons. Arthur Hunnicutt is, as usual, the consummate old-timer of the desert – and has the means to save the hostages from nuclear annihilation. Lucky for them.

There're a number of themes, of course: greed, loyalty, and courage being the obvious ones. It's the interaction between Hurley and Bart Moore, however, that's fascinating: Hurley, a psychologically damaged WW2 veteran who can't stop killing but who recognizes something he needs in Bart's presence, almost like a brother. Or, was it just the money?

It's a B movie, for sure, but it's one of the best I've seen. Recommended for all film noir fans.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Best high drama of the '50's noname1479
Discuss Split Second (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?