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JIM BROWN AND GENE HACKMAN ALMOST TEAM FOR 'THE SPLIT'

Jim Brown in THE SPLIT Year: 1968 Rating: **

The first Rated-R movie ever made came out the same year as a similar ensemble heist picture THE THOMAS CROWNE AFFAIR, centering on selected thieves chosen to rob a giant bank...

And here, starring former record-breaking football hero turned groundbreaking black movie star Jim Brown, THE SPLIT proves just how long ago Brown was a truly relevant star... 

Late-1960's Split-Screen opens THE SPLIT

At the time more famous than semi-newcomers Donald Sutherland, Warren Oates, Jack Klugman and Gene Hackman, he's also joined by Julie Harris and the always dependably rugged Ernest Borgnine...

Their targeted score is a Rams football game's box office, which even includes a CROWNE-like multi-screen credit sequence (Brown's as smoothly-professional and sharply-dressed as Steve McQueen)...

Gene Hackman in THE SPLIT

Meanwhile, Gene Hackman plays the 11th hour token cop, right after the plot derails when Brown, initially the leader, frantically searches for both the stolen stolen money and the killer of gorgeous girlfriend Diahann Carroll...

Here's where his now suspicious gang turns violently tortuous, forcing Brown to do what he did best, both on the field and his first cinematic breakthrough THE DIRTY DOZEN — run and run fast...

Jim Brown and Warren Oates in THE SPLIT with Donald Sutherland

But not fast enough to make this heist thriller thrilling despite a barrage of groovy music, a rudimentary introduction/vignette testing each player's skills, and pulpy gun-play...

Overall, THE SPLIT (loosely based on a Donald E. Westlake noir novel) never lives up to the potentially-intriguing premise or the sublime cast, who never quite click or connect together, or apart.

Jim Brown, Warren Oates and Ernest Borgnine in THE SPLIT
Jack Klugman in THE SPLIT
Warren Oates and Donald Sutherland in THE SPLIT
Gene Hackman in THE SPLIT
Julie Harris in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Diahann Carroll in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
The Big Box is German for THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Future Wild Bunch Ernest Borgnine and Warren Oates in THE SPLIT
Crooked Cop Gene Hackman in THE SPLIT
Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates and Jack Klugman in THE SPLIT
Gene Hackman in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Gene Hackman in THE SPLIT
Ernest Borgnine in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT
Ensemble Poster for THE SPLIT
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT with Julie Harris
Jim Brown in THE SPLIT

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