Five Finger Exercise (1962)

 |  Drama  |  8 October 1962 (Sweden)
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A long-married couple are at war with each other and with their teenage son and daughter. The presence of a handsome young tutor complicates and sensitizes the savage domestic tensions ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Philip Harrington
Annette Gorman ...
William Kerwin ...
Todd Armstrong ...
Tony Blake
Terry Huntingdon ...
Kathy West ...
Mary Benoit ...
Bart Conrad ...


A long-married couple are at war with each other and with their teenage son and daughter. The presence of a handsome young tutor complicates and sensitizes the savage domestic tensions which arise as the secret emotions of members of the family are shockingly revealed. Written by alfiehitchie

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There are many kinds of love...But is there any without guilt?




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Release Date:

8 October 1962 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco Amores  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alec Guinness and Trevor Howard variously named for role that went to Jack Hawkins; Laurence Harvey originally announced for Maximilian Schell role. See more »


The hair and clothes of both Walter and Mary are only partially wet when they get back to the house even though they have both been completely immersed in the sea for an extended period. See more »


Version of I askisi pente daktylon (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

exhausting dysfunctionalism
26 March 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on a play by Peter Shaffer, "Five Finger Exercise" from 1962 stars Rosalind Russell, Jack Hawkins, Richard Beymer, and Maximillian Schell.

The plot concerns the presence of a German tutor (Schell) for the daughter (Lana Wood) in the family, and ensuing domestic problems that come to a boil.

Russell plays Louise Harington, an unhappily married social climber who has nothing in common with her hard-working, down to earth husband Stanley (Hawkins). The son Philip (Beymer) joins them for the summer at their ostentatious vacation home, and the tension is immediate. Stanley wants Philip to join him in business, but Philip isn't sure what he wants to do. Then a tutor, Walter, is brought in to teach French to the daughter, and tensions really boil over. For Louise, he represents culture and romance, for Stanley, he's a pretentious annoyance, and for Philip, he represents a threat.

Shaffer is a masterful playwright, and perhaps if his play had been correctly adapted to film, this would have been a magnificent drama. As it is, it's an interesting family drama.

First off, the family is supposed to be British and in Britain, and the presence of the tutor brings up a lot of feelings about the war and the Nazis. Secondly, there is an underpinning of incestuous feelings between mother and son so that the presence of Walter makes Philip jealous. Both these elements are missing in the film. What remains is Louise's dashed romantic hopes and facing her harsh reality, which releases a firestorm.

This isn't a bad drama by any means, it's just not the unusual film that it could have been. The acting is good if a bit overdrawn - that is partially because it is derived from a strong play. And the resolution is satisfying.

Disappointing. One last thing - this was produced by Russell's husband, Frederick Brisson. At one point, Richard Beymer was fooling around on the set and Russell said something to him, asking him to stop. He replied that whatever he was doing was no big deal. She responded, "Well just remember this - I'M sleeping with the producer." I think he probably stopped misbehaving at that point.

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