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Five Finger Exercise (1962)

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

Cast overview:
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...
...
Walter
...
Philip Harrington
Annette Gorman ...
...
Mary
Terry Huntingdon ...
Helen
...
Salesman
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

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Drama

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Release Date:

8 October 1962 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco Amores  »

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(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Rosalind Russell is in a record store, there is a record cover behind her - it's "Auntie Mame". See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Louise Harington: I won't have you talking to him in that way. I won't have it.
Stanley Harrington: Why not?
Louise Harington: He's a brilliant boy. You talk about your money. Your money had nothing to do with getting him into Harvard.
Stanley Harrington: It didn't hurt.
Louise Harington: It was his brains, his brilliance!
Stanley Harrington: [scornfully] His brilliance!
Louise Harington: You haven't the least idea how to deal with a sensitive person. I understand him. I appreciate him.
Louise Harington: You know what you're doing to him, don't you? You're turning him into a mama's boy. A molly-coddled...
Louise Harington: That's not true!
Stanley Harrington: Any time I wanted to...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Play of the Month: Five Finger Exercise (1970) 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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