Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank robbery that goes awry. In his simple plan, he hires a hard-up hood, Johnny Cabot to take the wife of the bank's vice president hostage. Cabot will hold her until he gets a call alerting him that Fred has been successful in getting ransom money. Cabot waits, and watches the Wilson house as the husband leaves for the bank and their young son heads off to school. Posing as a door-to-door guitar instructor, he forces his way into the house and takes Nancy Wilson hostage. At the bank, Fred talks his way into Ken Wilson's office, and presents his personal check for $70,000, intending that Wilson will withdraw the funds to cover the check as a ransom for his wife. He has Wilson call home to prove that Nancy is being held by the unstable Cabot, and gives Wilson 5 minutes to make his decision. If Fred ... Written by
Nasty Thriller With -- Wait: Vic Tayback, Ron Howard, and Johnny Cash?
This is a tough little movie. It would work quite well without names. But let's face it: The leading man is the draw. Johnny Cash, in 1961, looking a little like Elvis, as a ruthless killer. A killer, to be sure, who sings the title song and whom we see playing guitar.
Donald Woods is a dead ringer for the Darren character in "Bewitched." He is a complacent suburban dad. Cay Forrester is just right as his upwardly mobile blonde wife. Ron Howard is very cute as their son. (And Pamela Mason turns in a good acting job but is a little implausible as Woods's mistress.) Before he got the job cooking for Alice, Tayback was apparently a crook. A pretty mean one, at that. And here, he has hired Cash to hold banker Woods's wife hostage. (Before he takes the job, Cash has to dump his girlfriend, the greedy Doris, AKA Dory.) For an obviously low budget movie, this does its job neatly. And it holds up very well 45 years after it was released.
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?