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Split Second (1953)


Price: £23.68 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling, Keith Andes, Arthur Hunnicutt
  • Directors: Dick Powell
  • Producers: Split Second (1953)
  • Format: Import, PAL
  • Subtitles: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Run Time: 85.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0021QACCW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,958 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

France released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), French ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Actor Dick Powell made an impressive film debut with the taut atomic-age suspenser Split Second. Convicts Stephen McNally, Paul Kelly and Frank DeKova escape to a ghost town in the Nevada desert. Only it isn't exactly a ghost town, but a "dummy village" constructed for the purpose of A-bomb testing. The criminals hold several hostages, including reporter Keith Andes, nightclub singer Jan Sterling, selfish socialite Alexis Smith, her doctor-husband Richard Egan and her newest boyfriend Robert Paige. Andes suspects that the deserted town is at Ground Zero of the latest bomb test, but he can't convince the convicts until it's almost too late. The best and most horrifying sequence occurs near the end, when the criminals, accompanied by the duplicitous Ms. Smith, discover that they're driving towards the A-bomb target instead of away from it. Novelist Irving Wallace collaborated on the script of Split Second with Chester Erskine and William Bowers. ...Split Second (1953)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Smith on 30 Jan 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have the French release (in English obviously) of this early 50s classic, worth buying for its title alone, 'Meme Les Assassins Tremblent.'
The film starts with a prison breakout by vicious and notorious cold blooded killer, Stephen McNally (brilliant in this) and his only prison friend Paul Kelly. Kelly's character is badly wounded in the breakout and this gradually becomes key to the plot.
The escapees meet up with mute fellow con 'Dummy' on the outside and whilst en route to a ghost town hideout pick up various hostages, including Jan Sterling and Alexis Smith.
Well known actor Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet) directs and skilfully ratchets up the tension, the impending nearby Atom Bomb test certainly helps in this.
Unexpected plot twists and the growing frictions and changing allegiances amongst the trapped, increasingly desperate group of goodies, baddies (Alexis Smith is yellow to the core) and 'inbetweenies', plus the skilled ensemble cast keep things on the boil throughout.
Also starring Richard Egan and Arthur Hunnicutt it's a top notch thriller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 July 2013
Format: DVD
Split Second is directed by Dick Powell and written by William Bowers, Irving Wallace and Chester Erskine. It stars Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling, Keith Andes, Arthur Hunnicutt, Richard Egan, Paul Kelly, Robert Paige and Frank DeKova. Music is by Roy Webb and cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca.

Escaped convict Sam Hurley (McNally) is on the run with his wounded pal Bart Moore (Kelly) and henchman accomplice Dummy (DeKova). Carjacking two lots of hostages, Hurley takes them to a ghost town on an Atom Bomb test sight figuring it's the perfect place to hole up. But with Moore in need of medical help, the test bomb set to go off in the morning and tempers frayed within the group, something is going to have to give...

A taut and sweaty noir, Split Second taps into the 50s fear of the bomb and explodes the character dynamics Petrified Forest style. The premise is simple, once the character introductions are out the way, we wind our way to a bleak ghost town and stay in the company of a disparate group of people for the remainder of the film. As the clock ticks down, with the bomb set to be detonated on the town at 06.00, the various characters introduce their respective traits into the story. The tension mounts and the over-spills are often nervy, sleazy and poignant.

The makers don't soft soap the situations, but they do dangle shards of sympathy. As is the case with Hurley, who is a cold blooded killer, we know and witness this, but his back story is that of a war hero, he also has a deep affection for his injured older pal, somewhere along the line a good man lost his balance. Dottie Vale (Sterling) is a dancer, street wise and aware of how to play the situation, but sadness resides behind her waspish tongue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovins TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Feb 2011
Format: DVD
RKO Radio Pictures presents "SPLIT SECOND" (1953) (85 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Starring Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling, Keith Andes, Arthur Hunnicutt, Paul Kelly & Richard Egan -- Directed by Dick Powell

Actor Dick Powell made an impressive film debut with the taut atomic-age suspensor Split Second --- Convicts Stephen McNally, Paul Kelly and Frank DeKova escape to a ghost town in the Nevada desert --- Only it isn't exactly a ghost town, but a "dummy village" constructed for the purpose of A-bomb testing --- The criminals hold several hostages, including reporter Keith Andes, nightclub singer Jan Sterling, selfish socialite Alexis Smith, her doctor-husband Richard Egan and her newest boyfriend Robert Paige --- Andes suspects that the deserted town is at Ground Zero of the latest bomb test, but he can't convince the convicts until it's almost too late --- The best and most horrifying sequence occurs near the end, when the criminals, accompanied by the duplicitous Ms. Smith, discover that they're driving towards the A-bomb target instead of away from it.

Novelist Irving Wallace collaborated on the script of Split Second with Chester Erskine and William Bowers.

This started out as a "B-Film" that rates the "A Plus Film Noir" for rating, showing what could be done with the right chemistry of the director, cast and producer -- What more can an avid noir film collector ask for.

BIOS:
1. Dick Powell [Director]
Date of Birth: 14 November 1904, Mountain View, Arkansas
Date of Death: 2 January 1963, West Los Angeles, California

2. Stephen McNally
Date of Birth: 29 July 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 4 June 1994 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California

Mr.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A dark tale of torture, fear and death. I saw this on tv in the late 60s, and it terrified me. Maybe this was too strong for a 11 year old to watch. But is was a film that stayed with me. The mystery of the box, the duplicity and evil of the baddies and the final scene where the sound of the evil in the box scared the wits out of me !
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By QM1 on 28 April 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Don't let the fact that this film is 60 years old. It has been remastered beautifully. Enjoy some great acting from some of Hollywood's best stars acting in a thriller that you just can't fault.
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