5.9/10
758
22 user 17 critic

5 Against the House (1955)

Four vets attending college on the GI Bill and a cabaret singer try to rob a Reno Casino and pull off the perfect crime.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Al Mercer
...
Kay Greylek
...
Brick
Alvy Moore ...
Roy
...
Ronnie
...
Eric Berg
Jack Dimond ...
Francis Spiegelbauer
...
Virginia
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Storyline

Four college buddies enjoy a night at a Reno casino and overhear a cop saying that robbing the casino "cannot be done." That gets the brainiest rich kid among them thinking up a plan for the perfect robbery. He convinces the others to join in when they hear that it will only be a college hoax, his plan being to let the police know where the money is afterwards. The thing is, one of his friends has a head injury from the war, and has no intention of returning a dime. Written by Rone Barton Lokarr <sandbox2@ix.netcom.com>

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Details

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Release Date:

13 June 1955 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Five Against the House  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kerwin Mathews was the youngest of the four college buddies by several years, being born in 1926; the others were born in 1921 or 1922. See more »

Goofs

In the convertible on the way back to college from Reno, Roy comments that they are "in Kansas somewhere" (with "300 miles to go") but the mountains in the projected background are too way close for that. See more »

Quotes

Kay Greylek: Al, I grew up in this town. I've been dating college boys since I was old enough to be noticed by them.
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Connections

Referenced in The Graduate (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Forbidden Love
(uncredited)
Written by George Duning and Tom Glazer
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User Reviews

 
First Rate "Buddy" Picture
14 August 2008 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Uneven heist film. Making 30-somethings Madison and Keith into college students is a bit of a stretch. But I guess pairing them with the youthful Moore and Mathews presented a problem that a college dorm room could solve. Screenplay is by the celebrated TV writer Stirling Silliphant who, nonetheless, can't seem to script a line without a wise-guy quip. It's clever, but does get tiresome.

The movie has two things going for it. First is an absolutely superb performance by Brian Keith. Few actors could get more mileage out of a squint and a cigarette than this low-key tough guy. His final descent into battle-shock madness is both persuasive and oddly touching. The entire movie turns on an ability to convey the required changes and he brings them off beautifully. The other plus is the location photography in Reno. It's entertaining to watch the crowds milling around the casinos, circa 1955. How the production crew got the crowds to act so natural, without acknowledging the camera, amounts to a real feat. Also, the parking garage makes for good staging, but apparently is a commercial novelty that never caught on.

At the time, Columbia's head Harry Cohn was promoting Novak into the studio's newest sex goddess. Novak is okay in the role, but unfortunately her scenes with Madison slow down the pacing. Her role here looks like a rather awkward add-on to the main plot. In fact the heart of the film is neither the casino heist nor the Madison-Novak romance. Rather, the emotional center is the solid bond between the two Korean war vets. The chemistry between the two older men strongly portrays the kind of special kinship forged only in combat

Certainly director Phil Karlson knows his way around action movies as proved by his gripping Phenix City Story. I suspect that had he a freer hand here, a leaner, sharper, more coherent movie would have resulted. As it is, the 90 minutes is entertaining, but not front rank. As a heist movie, it's so-so; as a buddy film, it's first rate. (In passing-- Looks like the producers of Oceans 11 {1960} sat through this film more than once.)


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