Welcome to this week's "Movies... For Free!" column, where we showcase classic movies freely available in the public domain (with streaming video!). Read the article and watch the movie right here!
Five Minutes to Live, a.k.a Door-to-Door Maniac, 1961.
Directed by Bill Karn.
Starring Johnny Cash, Vic Tayback, Donald Woods, Cay Forester, and Ron Howard.
Originally released in 1961, Five Minutes to Live (reissued in 1966 under the more ominous title of Door-to-Door Maniac), is low-budget film noir thriller which is notable for marking the big-screen acting debut of music legend Johnny Cash. It also features Country Music Hall of Famer Merle Travis, along with an early appearance by a young Ron Howard.
Cash stars as Johnny Cabot, a notorious and cold-blooded killer who, at the beginning of the film, is hiding out in a cheap motel after the murder of two police officers. Cabot is approached by crime boss Fred Dorella (Tayback, best known for his work on the American sitcom Alice), who wants Cabot’s help in pulling off the ‘perfect’ bank robbery. Dorella’s plan appears simple enough – he enters the bank and asks to speak to the manager (Woods) while Cabot visits his house (posing as a door-to-door salesman) and takes his wife (Forester) hostage. Dorella gives the bank manager an ultimatum – pay $70,000 or his wife dies. The only problem is that the husband has been having an affair with another woman, and he intends on leaving his wife that very night…
Although the film suffers from poor production values it moves at a swift pace with plenty of tension and suspense, and Cash (at the height of – and no doubt enhanced by - his addictions) gives a truly unsettling and charismatic performance as the sadistic killer Johnny Cabot. Five Minutes to Live is an entertaining if somewhat flawed low-budget thriller, but absolutely essential viewing for all fans of the Man in Black.
Embed courtesy of Internet Archive.
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