Split Second (1953): No cops required

Split Second 1953Escaped con holds a motley crew hostage in a Nevada ghost town on the eve of an atomic bomb test

First time director Dick Powell delivers a powerful crime melodrama from RKO, ably assisted by veteran noir cameraman Nicholas Musuraca. A solid ensemble cast is led by Stephen McNally as Sam Hurley, a fugitive on the run.

McNally dominates this movie as the brutal but complex killer: the noir motifs of the damaged war veteran and nuclear paranoia are deftly interwoven in an intelligent script from William Bowers and Irving Wallace from a story by Wallace and Chester Erskine.

Not a cop is to be seen and cruel destiny deals with the protagonists in an explosive finale. In one scene, Hurley tells his hostages that he doesn’t like heroes, and this movie doesn’t have any. Retribution is in the hands of fate and the weather.

A must see cult classic. Watch the trailer at TCM.

Split Second 1953

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