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The Split (1968)

Director:
Gordon Flemyng
COUNTRY
USA
GENRE
Crime/Thriller
NORWEGIAN TITLE
-
RUNNING TIME
91 minutes
Producer:
Robert Chartoff
Irwin Winkler
Screenwriter (based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake):
Robert Sabaroff


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
McClain Jim Brown
Ellie Kennedy Diahann Carroll
Bert Clinger Ernest Borgnine
Gladys Julie Harris
Det. Lt. Walter Brill Gene Hackman
Harry Kifka Jack Klugman
Marty Gough Warren Oates
Herb Sutro James Whitmore
Dave Negli Donald Sutherland

 

Review

A trendsetting and urban jazzy score by Quincy Jones along with stylish off-hand direction by Gordon Flemyng makes The Split an attractive and engaging film, cocksure about its own seductive qualities. The film holds up well after all these years for the said reasons, but also because it pushes and plays with genre conventions, beginning with a series of seemingly incohesive high-action chase sequences, developing into a clever, low-key heist film, before ultimately becoming a hard-hitting urban western, complete with showdown and an indulgent portrayal of violence, which arguably was quite controversial at the time of release. As such, the film belongs to a vein started by Arthur Penn and Warren Beatty with Bonnie and Clyde the year before, in which violence was given a far more stark and pessimistic treatment than before. The plot presented in The Split isn't necessarily brilliant, but the ambition with which it is treated gives the film relevance and freshness. The performances are notable for the division between the classic, unprobing workmanship of Borgnine, Klugman, Harris and Oates, and the modern, more introspective work by Brown, Hackman and Sutherland. All in all, it's a fine and attractive cast in a film which deserves to be remembered.

 

Copyright 2.11.2010 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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