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Two Seconds Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Similar in theme to Ambrose Bierce's classic story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," this odd melodrama chronicles the last moments in the life of a man about to be executed in the electric chair, at a maximum security prison loosely modeled on Sing Sing. In the two seconds that it takes for the executioner to pull the switch, convicted murderer John Allen (Edward G. Robinson) flashes back over his life, and the incidents that led him to this tragic state; that flashback forms the bulk of the picture. Allen claims that he is indeed guilty and deserves to die -- though not for the murder of which he is accused. It seems he was an ironworker, and befriended Bud Clark (Preston S. Foster) on the job, who was far more outgoing, optimistic, and well-adjusted than he. One night Allen got drunk, and instantly married Shirley Day (Vivienne Osborne), a woman he met at a dance hall club; meanwhile, Clark discovered the woman's ongoing affair with the club owner, Tony (J. Carrol Naish) and tried to warn Allen. Disinclined to believe this story, Allen punched him in a bitter rage while the men were stationed atop a high structure, knocking Clark off and sending him to his death. Allen then won a great deal of money at the track and used it to repay Tony, from whom Shirley had borrowed cash for food and rent. In the process, however, he discovered the two together and shot and killed Shirley in response to her infidelity. Thus, though he was actually incarcerated and sentenced to death for mariticide, he claims he should be exonerated for this and instead held guilty for the murder of Clark, who didn't deserve to die. This film didn't fare well with critics or viewers, who were used to seeing Robinson play the heavy in action-laden films. It thus quickly faded from view and has never been issued on video, though it occasionally turns up on cable. It packs in a thoroughly bizarre twist in its final act that will not be disclosed here. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

  • Release date:May 18, 1932

Cast

Edward G. Robinson
as John Allen
Vivienne Osborne
as Shirley Day
J. Carrol Naish
as Tony
Guy Kibbee
as Bookie
Dorothea Wolbert
as Lizzie
Edward McWade
as Doctor
Berton Churchill
as Warden
William Janney
as College Boy
Otto Hoffman
as Justice Of The Peace
Frederick Burton
as Judge
Lew Brice
as Reporter
John Kelly
as Masher
Matt McHugh
as Masher
Franklin Parker
as Reporter
Luana Walters
as Tart
Harry Woods
as Executioner
Franklin Parker
as Reporter
Frederick Burton
as Judge
Matt McHugh
as Masher
Luana Walters
as Tart
John Kelly
as Masher
Lew Brice
as Reporter

Crew

Mervyn LeRoy
Director
Hal B. Wallis
Producer
Elliott Lester
Play Author
Harvey Thew
Screenwriter
Sol Polito
Cinematographer
Leo F. Forbstein
Musical Direction/Supervision
Leo F. Forbstein
Composer (Music Score)
Terrell O. Morse
Editor
Anton Grot
Art Director
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