Split Second was the directorial debut of Dick Powell, and the movie had me at hello with a cast that included McNally, Sterling, Smith and Hunnicutt, making the fantastic plot they’re plugged into just more gravy. Here, McNally plays an escaped prisoner who gathers up a group of hostages as he steals their cars on the way to his hideout — a ghost town near White Sands, NM, that’s well within the predicted blast radius of another, impending A-Bomb test. So, we’ve got a taut and tensile race against the clock as the criminal forces one of his hostages to lure her doctor husband into the desert to patch up his partner before the bomb goes off, culminating in an ending that beat Aldrich to the punch by about a year and half. Highly recommended.
Split Second (1953) RKO Radio Pictures / P: Edmund Grainger / D: Dick Powell / W: William Bowers, Irving Wallace, Chester Erskine / C: Nicholas Musuraca / E: Robert Ford / M: Roy Webb / S: Stephen McNally, Alexis Smith, Jan Sterling, Arthur Hunnicutt, Richard Egan, Frank DeKova