6.9/10
1,265
37 user 10 critic

Split Second (1953)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 2 May 1953 (USA)
Two escaped killers take hostages and hide in a Nevada mining ghost town knowing that an atom bomb is scheduled to be tested there the next morning.

Director:

Dick Powell

Writers:

William Bowers (screen play), Irving Wallace (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

On trial for murdering his girlfriend, philandering stockbroker Larry Ballentine takes the stand to claim his innocence and describe the actual, but improbable sounding, sequence of events that led to her death.

Director: Irving Pichel
Stars: Robert Young, Susan Hayward, Jane Greer
Red Light (1949)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The former employee of a trucking company, currently in prison for embezzling the company, plans his eventual revenge against his former boss.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: George Raft, Virginia Mayo, Gene Lockhart
Roadblock (1951)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Honest LA insurance detective Joe Peters becomes corrupt after falling in love with sensual gold-digger model Diane.

Director: Harold Daniels
Stars: Charles McGraw, Joan Dixon, Lowell Gilmore
Pushover (1954)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Undercover cop falls for the beautiful moll of a bank robber on the run and together they double-cross the hood and the cops.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Kim Novak, Philip Carey
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An ex-convict and a woman fall in love, after she shoots her police Lt. boyfriend dead in self defense, and falsely leads him to believe that he did the shooting.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Ruth Roman, Steve Cochran, Lurene Tuttle
The Window (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9-year-old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, but no one will believe him.

Director: Ted Tetzlaff
Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy
The Racket (1951)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In New York, two honest cops try to hinder a crime syndicate from moving into the precinct and also to prevent the mob's plan of electing a corrupt prosecutor to a judgeship.

Directors: John Cromwell, Mel Ferrer, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A veteran homicide detective who has witnessed his socialite girlfriend kill her husband sees his inexperienced brother assigned to the case.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Lee J. Cobb, Jane Wyatt, John Dall
Side Street (1950)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A struggling young father-to-be gives in to temptation and impulsively steals money from the office of a shady lawyer - with catastrophic consequences.

Director: Anthony Mann
Stars: Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An obsessed cop tracks an elusive serial killer who strangles his victims on rainy nights.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: William Lundigan, Dorothy Patrick, Jeff Corey
The Threat (1949)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vicious hood 'Red' Kluger escapes from Folsom Prison and carries through on his threats to the detective who arrested him and the D.A. who got him convicted.

Director: Felix E. Feist
Stars: Michael O'Shea, Virginia Grey, Charles McGraw
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Police seek a smuggler while doctors, unaware she's the same person, desperately comb unprotected New York for a smallpox carrier.

Director: Earl McEvoy
Stars: Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, William Bishop
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Stephen McNally ... Sam Hurley
Alexis Smith ... Kay Garven
Jan Sterling ... Dorothy 'Dottie' Vail
Keith Andes ... Larry Fleming
Arthur Hunnicutt ... Asa Tremaine
Paul Kelly ... Bart Moore
Robert Paige ... Arthur Ashton
Richard Egan ... Dr. Neal Garven
Frank DeKova ... 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:

Steel Your Nerves! Here's excitement that will smash them! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 May 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Split Second See more »

Filming Locations:

Mojave Desert, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The escaped convict Bart Moore is played by Paul Kelly who himself spent 25 months during the late 1920s in California's San Quentin State Prison. He was convicted of manslaughter for the beating death of actor Ray Raymond, the first husband of actress Dorothy Mackaye, who was having an affair with Kelly and would later marry him. Kelly's next film after this one was Duffy of San Quentin (1954) where he plays the title role - the warden of the prison where he himself did time. See more »

Goofs

Considering the level of security around the test site, including the number of roadblocks set up to keep people away, how did Dr. Garven manage to drive into the ghost town seemingly unimpeded. See more »

Quotes

Sam Hurley: I hate heroes.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skullduggery (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Between the devil and the bright red bomb
11 April 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

The success of this film is due largely to Dick Powell's analogy that international violence is caused by many of the same forces that trigger personal violence. Some might say the nation is the individual writ large. His pairing a detonation of an atomic bomb in preparation for a possible conflagration that would eliminate the human race with the escape from prison of a perverted hostile trio of killers hiding out in a deserted western town is indeed inspired. Add to this a clever, telling script written largely by Irving Wallace, who knew how to make today's headlines into entertaining stories, and the result is a near classic film for its genre.

Some of the best lines are given to Jan Sterling in the role of a good-hearted showgirl, Dottie Vale, who has been ridden around the block a few times. At one point in carefree desperation, she states, "looks like we're caught between the devil and the bright red bomb." The ambiance of nonchalance permeates the entire picture and helps to lessen the tension caused by the split second count down to Armageddon for the trapped hostages. Even more humor is introduced with the character of Asa Tremaine, a desert rat who attempts to tell tale tales not unlike those of Gabby Hayes. Played by Arkansas native Arthur Hunnicutt (He's buried at Greenwood, Arkansas), Asa plays a pivotal role near the conclusion of the film. The rest of the cast is effective, particularly Stephen McNally who portrays the coldblooded killer with no morals, Sam Hurley.

The story involves an assortment of personalities who unwittingly end up kidnapped by three escaped killers, one of them mute. The root of the plot centers on the interaction among the characters when their lives are stripped bare with doomsday at 6:00 am the next morning. They hold up in an abandoned town waiting for a doctor who happens to be the husband of a two-timer who is traveling with her boyfriend, now held captive by the killers. There is much edge-of-the-seat suspense as the clock clicks away the minutes.


22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 37 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed