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Split Second (1953)
Topic Started: Feb 17 2018, 10:28 AM (212 Views)
Laughing Gravy
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Split Second (1953) Dir. Dick Powell
RKO Radio Pictures
85 min. / B&W / 1.37:1

A pair of ruthless escaped cons and their mute henchman take a bunch of hostages and hole up in a ghost town next to an atomic blast site where a test bomb is going off in the morning, figuring that it's the safest place and no one will look for them there and that they'll make their getaway before the bomb goes off. They figured wrong.

Unheralded and mixed-review thriller that our Friday Nights Film group really enjoyed, briskly directed by Mr. Powell (his directorial debut) and with a bang of an ending (you probably knew I was going to say that). Reminiscent of The Petrified Forest; more of a character study than anything else, with a terrific non-major-studio cast, including Stephen McNally as the lead convict, Paul Kelly as his wounded buddy and Frank de Kova as "Dummy," their mute gunman; Alexis Smith and Jan Sterling as the two ladies who will do, er, anything with Mr. McNally to stay alive; and Keith Andes, Arthur Hunnicutt, Robert Paige and Richard Egan as the male hostages about whom we don't care too much.

Million-dollar Dialog:
McNally on the phone to Alexis' husband, a doctor: "Don't try to get smart. Play it straight with me, you got yourself a wife. Get cute, you got yourself a corpse."

Don't be scared off by the tepid reviews for this; it's a pip and we enjoyed it a lot.

ALSO ON THE PROGRAM

We're into, what, our 32nd year of FNF movies now? Hard to believe, eh? Currently, we're still watching chronological Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (we're up to early 1941) with an occasional chronological Popeye mixed in (up to 1941 as well). We watch two cartoons a week.

This week we had episode three of our current serial, Fighting Devil Dogs, courtesy of AC Comics and it's a fine print and we're enjoying the serial; it's a switch from our last two, Holt of the Secret Service and The Masked Marvel, which is good.

We also watch a TravelTalks every week (just visited Seattle, in fact) and a Vitaphone musical/comedy short (both from Warner Archive collections), and either a comedy short (currently Charley Chase or the Three Stooges) or Crime Does Not Pay.

Good times.
"I'm glad that this question came up, because there are so many ways to answer it that one of them is bound to be right." - Robert Benchley
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