Skip to main content

FIVE AGAINST THE HOUSE

USA, 1955 (MIFF 1998, Kiss Me Deadly)

Director: Phil Karlson

Five college students - Madison, Novak, Keith, Moore and Mathews - team up and joke about a robbery of Harold's Club in Reno. It starts off as an intellectual prank, but soon ends up the real thing. Internal conflicts mount between Mathews (who planned the heist) and Madison (whose disapproval grows). The issue is eventually forced by Brian Keith, playing a violent and emotionally disturbed ex-G.I., named (aptly enough) Brick. The overly-stylised tensions result in an exciting climactic showdown.

Five Against the House is a taut caper thriller, based on a novel by Jack (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Time After Time) Finney. An early screen role for Kim Novak reveals her as a nightclub singer (curiously, her voice is dubbed). - Paul Harris

"Character and plot, and the tensions generated by both, were expertly juggled by writers Stirling Silliphant, John Barnwell (both of whom also produced for Dayle Productions) and William Bowers, working from a Good Housekeeping story by Jack Finney. They emerged with a gripping little thriller. The nifty direction was by Phil Karlson, who, when it came to laying on the suspense, doesn't miss a trick." - The Columbia Story

"Noir rules, other fiction drools." - James Ellroy

See also...

SCANDAL SHEET

Hard-nosed editor Crawford takes over an ailing newspaper and uses a double murder to boost his tabloid's circulation. He then discovers that his hero worshipping cub reporter-protege (Derek) has ... More »

KISS ME DEADLY

A night-time encounter with Cloris Leachman, clad only in a raincoat, leads Mike Hammer on a legality-be-damned search for a mysterious suitcase containing 'the Great What's-lt' in this stunning ... More »

THE LINE UP

"Psycho-killers Julian and Dancer (Keith and Wallach), are hired to recover a heroin haul. Among their professional touches is noting down their victim's last words ("Why be greedy?"). But they can ... More »

PUSHOVER

"Money isn't dirty, just people." ... A low-rent Double Indemnity; cool blonde moll Kim Novak (in her first major screen role at Columbia) stirs up a sexual heat similar to that of Barbara Stanwyck ... More »

Giants in the Land

A coverage on the utilisation of Diesel power. The film employs a silhouette sequence showing the methods of the pioneers followed by an animated sequence on the development of the Diesel engine. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director