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Split Second (1953 film)

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Director  Dick Powell
Music director  Roy Webb
Country  United States
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Language  English
Split Second (1953 film) movie poster
Release date  May 2, 1953 (1953-05-02) (US)
Writer  William Bowers (screen play), Irving Wallace (screen play), Chester Erskine (story), Irving Wallace (story)
Story by  Irving Wallace, Chester Erskine
Cast  Stephen McNally (Sam Hurley), Alexis Smith (Kay Garven), Jan Sterling (Dorothy 'Dottie' Vale), Keith Andes (Larry Fleming), Arthur Hunnicutt (Asa Tremaine), Paul Kelly (Bart Moore)
Similar movies  Godzilla, Infinity, Hiroshima, Trinity And Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie, Octopussy, Brick Mansions
Tagline  Steel Your Nerves! Here's excitement that will smash them!

An escaped killer (Stephen McNally) holds a doctors wife (Alexis Smith) and others hostage at an atomic-bomb test site in Nevada.


Split Second (1953 film) movie scenes

Split Second is a 1953 American film noir thriller directed by Dick Powell about escaped convicts and their hostages holed up in a ghost town, unaware of the grave danger they are in. It featured Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling, and Keith Andes.

Escaped convicts hold hostages in a ghost town targeted for a nuclear bomb test.

Split second 1953 trailer


Split Second (1953 film) movie scenes  Split Second 1953 straddles the portal from 1940s film noir to 1950s paranoia genre and we can see an era turning before our eyes

Sam Hurley (Stephen McNally) and Bart Moore (Paul Kelly) escape from prison, although Moore is seriously wounded in the breakout. They meet up with a confederate, a mute named "Dummy" (Frank de Kova), and hide out in a ghost town. Along the way, they pick up several hostages, Kay Garven (Alexis Smith) and her lover Arthur Ashton (Robert Paige), reporter Larry Fleming (Keith Andes), dancer "Dottie" Vale (Jan Sterling), and the towns sole resident, Asa Tremaine (Arthur Hunnicutt).

Larry tries to warn the gangsters that the government is going to conduct an atomic bomb test nearby the next day, but Sam, their leader, does not believe him. When Arthur causes trouble, Sam kills him without a qualm. Meanwhile, Sam discovers that Kays husband is a doctor. He phones Neal Garven (Richard Egan) and threatens to kill his unfaithful wife unless he meets them. To Kays surprise, Neal still loves her enough to show up. He successfully operates on Bart, but warns Sam that moving his friend too soon will kill him. When Sam finally realizes that Larry was telling the truth, he still waits as long as possible to give Bart time to recuperate.

Unknown to everyone, the test has been moved ahead an hour due to favorable weather conditions. When the five-minute warning sounds earlier than expected, Sam and Bart hurry to Neals car and a desperate Kay gets in with them. Larry overpowers Dummy, but the others drive away. Asa leads the others to safety in a nearby mine. Sam, Bart and Kay are killed by the explosion, but the others emerge unharmed.

Split second full movie rutger hauer kim cattrall


  • Stephen McNally as Sam Hurley
  • Alexis Smith as Kay Garven
  • Jan Sterling as Dorothy Dottie Vale
  • Keith Andes as Larry Fleming
  • Arthur Hunnicutt as Asa Tremaine
  • Paul Kelly as Bart Moore
  • Robert Paige as Arthur Ashton
  • Richard Egan as Doctor Neal Garven
  • Frank de Kova as "Dummy"
  • Critical response

    When the film was released, The New York Times film critic, A.W. Weiler, while praising the cast, gave the film a mixed review, and at the same time encouraged first-time director Dick Powell. He wrote, "In making his directorial debut with Split Second, Dick Powell fortunately acquired a small but enthusiastic and competent cast, a fairly sturdy script and a contemporary peg on which to hang his melodrama, which turned up at the Criterion yesterday. Unfortunately, however, the pace at which this thriller moves is erratic and while its denouement is spectacular it is hardly surprising. Split Second is a fairly taut adventure closely tied to the atomic age but it is rarely explosive .... Mr. Powells initial directorial effort is not likely to startle the cinema world but it is a long step in the right direction."

    More recently, film and DVD critic Jamie S. Rich, also gave the film a lukewarm review, writing, "The film doesnt have much tension, despite the inherent drama of the scenario. The main reason for this is Hurley. He isnt written as being all that menacing. Hes more the know-it-all pessimist who sees through everyone elses charade, rather than the scary murderer who plays mind games with his victims. He stirs up the pot some, but the juiciest stuff emerges all on its own ... the bulk of Split Second is essentially unremarkable. Its a serviceable lower-tier movie that moves at an efficient pace and provides mild entertainment."


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