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Split Second (1953)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  2 May 1953 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 695 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 »

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(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Airs Tue. Jun. 02, 11:45 PM on TCM

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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: Well, Colonel, when you've seen one atom bomb, you've seen them all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skullduggery (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A noted cinema-noir, conspicuously well-acted and exciting
11 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

This film does not receive the notice it deserves; it is discovered by those who are intrigued by its gimmick--the action takes place in a ghost town scheduled to be destroyed by am atom bomb very soon, and then appreciated for its many good B/W dramatic scenes and other qualities. Dick Powell directed this taut thriller with his usual combination of good work with actors and very competent camera work. There are two plots going on here, very well interwoven by my standards; the normals in the film, led by a reporter beautifully played by Keith Andes, are those trapped in the doomed desert town; the other are those who are holding them there, a gang of criminals led by nice-guy and talented actor Stephen McNally as Sam Hurelyy-- an escaped criminal whose brutality becomes a metaphor for the violence of an Age that needs to resort to atom bomb tests. Others in the stellar cast include Jan Sterling, Robert Paige,,Alexis Smith, Richard Egan, Arthur Hunnicutt, Paul Sewart and Frank de Kova. What sets this film apart I suggest is the brutality theme which is deftly made to affect to every member of the cast. McNally as Sam Hurley equates life with getting to do whatever he wants to do to anyone by force. Andes is his chief antagonist, not a great pugilist but a brave fighter for another way of thinking about life--get on with your own priorities and leave others alone; this is by the way the real definition of heroism-- being a man who can do something well. Alexis Smith plays a woman who to save her life ignores what Hurley is, and the fact that is is planning to leave the others behind when he uses their car to drive away--with the atom bomb taking care of the evidence. The characters here are all unusually well-developed, from hoofer Sterling who distrusts everyone until Andes takes a beating from McNally protecting her, to Paige who underestimates Hurley to Hunnicutt who has run away from people to Egan who comes to save the wife who has been cheating on him, a woman who can't take responsibility, to Stewart who has to act against Hurley, his partner. It's difficult to recommend too highly such an extraordinary blend of noir brinksmanship, excellent dialogue and memorable confrontations. This drama only needed one change, to be made from the point of view of the reporter not the gang leader, to be a great film. It would lose a lot in color since it's superb black-and-white noir drama, from an age of much-better acting, writing and directing.


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