2 September 2008 | blanche-2
B heist film directed by Phil Karlson
Phil Karlson directed a lot of B movies and this one, "Five Against the House" is another one, released in 1955. It's notable for having Kim Novak in it just before she hit real stardom, and she's gorgeous. The other stars are Guy Madison, Brian Keith, Kerwin Mathews, and Alvy Moore. The story concerns Korea War vets in college on the GI bill who become involved in the heist of a Reno casino. It's supposed to be a lark by one of the men, Ronnie (Mathews). just to see if it could be done; he plans on returning the money. Lark or not, Al (Madison) opts out, but travels to Reno with his girlfriend Kay (Novak) and the rest of the guys as he and Kay are planning to be married there. However, the psychologically unstable Brick (Keith) decides to do the heist for real and forces his buddy Al to go along with it. Brick saved Al's life in Korea, and Al doesn't feel he can refuse him, even though the plan now involves Kay.
Though the end of the film had some excitement, the rest of it drags. The acting is adequate. Though the guys had served in Korea and entered college late, as far as I know, the Korean war lasted three years and not ten. With the exception of 29-year-old Mathews, the rest of the actors are in the 33-35 year-old range. Madison's career started out promisingly, but he became best known as Wild Bill Hickok on television and eventually made many Italian westerns; physical ailments kept him from working often past 1975 - his last credit is 8 years before his death in 1996. The other actors worked mainly in television except for the handsome Kerwin Mathews, who found career success in another type of film genre before his retirement circa 1978.
What the film has going for it is a really neat atmosphere. It was filmed on location in Lake Tahoe and Reno, and that part of it really pays off.
Of mild interest.