Four college buddies enjoying a night at a Reno casino are told by a cop 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 <email@example.com>
5 Against The House is a stylish noir caper film that involves four Korean War Veterans and the girl friend of one of them in a heist against a Reno casino. It was directed by Phil Karlson and while it's a bit slow in developing when the action starts, it builds up to a good climax.
The four veterans are Guy Madison, Alvy Moore, Kerwin Matthews, and Brian Keith. They're in college on the GI Bill of Rights and being a bit older than the other students there and with a shared wartime bonding, they kind of keep to themselves.
After a night in Reno where they overhear an arresting cop with a suspect who tried to rob Harold's club there saying how impossible it was. That gives Kerwin Matthews who's the genius of the group an idea to plan the perfect crime.
The others mean it as a prank to give the money back, but Keith is not a well man having spent some time in the psycho ward at the Veteran's Administration. He means to keep the money and he brings a long a pistol to enforce his argument.
It's hard for Madison to say no to Keith, he saved his life in Korea. But Madison who is also romantically involved with Kim Novak resents her being roped in on the scheme.
Best in the film is Brian Keith who does a very good job in suggesting a fundamentally decent man who's been unhinged by his wartime experiences. You have to understand that in order to understand why the film ended as it did.
Novak looks fetching and lovely as always and gets a couple of inconsequential songs to sing, no doubt dubbed as they were in Pal Joey.
5 Against The House did no harm to any of the careers among the cast here. Especially that of Kim Novak who was being prepped to take Rita Hayworth's spot as Columbia Picture's new sex goddess.
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