The Split (1968)
Seemingly modeled after Kubrick’s The Killing this film admittedly isn’t half as good. Having said that, any film where you can sit back and watch a cast including Jim Brown, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Donald Sutherland, Gene Hackman and James Whitmore should not be missed.
Jim Brown turns up in L.A. where he makes contact with Julie Harris. They in turn set up a heist at the local Rams game. The take from the gate should easily clear 500K. Brown goes about recruiting his collection of misfits from strongman Borgnine to driver Jack Klugman. Sutherland the cold killer and Oates along for added fun. The heist goes off fairly smoothly but as for the split, it gets a little complicated with the likes of James Whitmore stumbling into something and detective on the make Gene Hackman looking for a piece of the pie. From there we get into beatings and plenty of gun play towards the fade out as the gang comes unglued.
By no means a bad film from director Gordon Flemyng it could have been better with a surer hand (Aldrich?) and a little bit of script doctoring. Diahann Carrol appears here as Brown’s love interest but the scenes trip over themselves and come off as stilted. As for Mr. Whitmore, much of the same. His role is creepy and poorly filmed adding little to the overall impact of his rather nasty scene with Carroll. This was an MGM production putting Brown front and center after his break out role the previous year in The Dirty Dozen. Borgnine and Sutherland were along for that ride as well. Hackman was coming off Bonnie and Clyde and would of course go on to a long and successful career. The film was based on a novel from Richard Stark who the year before this film had his Point Blank turned into a highly successful Lee Marvin crime drama. Interestingly Marvin’s character and Brown in this only want what belongs to them and nothing more.
Overall not bad but should have been better with the cast involved.