Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


THE SPLIT (1968). Director: Gordon Flemyng.

McClain (Jim Brown), fresh out of jail, comes to see his attractive lady friend, Ellen (Diahann Carroll). But he's even more interested in another lady named Gladys (Julie Harris) who has the set-up money for another score: McClain and five associates are going to rob a football stadium of its booty. But will any of them get to spend the money when thieves fall out? And who is that weird guy, Herb (James Whitmore) who is coming on to poor Ellen? The Split is a suspenseful and entertaining caper film with an excellent cast and some intriguing developments. Oddly, the robbery itself is sort of tossed off -- it's what happens later that matters --  but there is a very exciting scene with Brown and Jack Klugman getting into a chase involving a limo. Brown is okay, but there are fine performances from Whitman, Warren Oates, Klugman [Twilight Zone], Gene Hackman [The French Connection], Donald Sutherland, and especially Julie Harris [The Last of Mrs. Lincoln] in her tough, highly memorable portrayal of no-nonsense she-boss Gladys. The well-edited movie is based on "The Seventh," a novel by Donald Westlake ("Richard Stark") that features his amoral protagonist Parker.

Verdict: Quite absorbing and well-acted. ***.

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