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This review is from: Split Second (1953) (DVD)
A journalist (Keith Andes) is moved assignment from covering an A-bomb testing to report on a story about 2 escaped prisoners (Stephen McNally & Paul Kelly). On his way out of the testing range, he picks up a female drifter (Jan Sterling) and is then hi-jacked by the escaped convicts and their getaway driver (Frank DeKova), along with a married lady (Alexis Smith) and her lover (Robert Paige) who the convicts have previously hi-jacked at a petrol station. The group, under the lead of McNally, head into an abandoned town which is due to be destroyed by the bomb (6.00am is detonation time). Kelly is injured and needs a doctor, so Smith's husband (Richard Egan) is summoned under threat. He joins the group that night along with a lone drifter (Arthur Hunnicutt) who is wandering around.
The film then follows the alliances, rivalries and love interests that are formed within the group as we wait for the doctor to fix Kelly and we count down the hours before the explosion. Will the convicts, under the ruthless leadership of McNally, kill everyone? Does McNally intend to save anyone by driving them out with him?......and then.......the authorities bring forward the detonation time to 5.00am and the 5 minute warning siren suddenly sets off...........
There are a couple of moments when credulity is stretched, eg, the ease with which everyone remains unnoticed within the forbidden zone despite coming across a road block, and Egan's arrival at night. We have been shown the thoroughness with which the military has evacuated the area and set up blocks preventing people from entering the area at the beginning of the film.....maybe the American military are a bit dumb..........but who cares.
Its a film about the tense situation that a group of strangers find themselves in and its well acted. A memorable film.