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5 Against the House (1955)

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

Director:

Phil Karlson

Writers:

Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), William Bowers (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Guy Madison ... Al Mercer
Kim Novak ... Kay Greylek
Brian Keith ... Brick
Alvy Moore ... Roy
Kerwin Mathews ... Ronnie
William Conrad ... Eric Berg
Jack Dimond Jack Dimond ... Francis Spiegelbauer
Jean Willes ... Virginia
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Storyline

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 <sandbox2@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 October 1955 (Albania) See more »

Also Known As:

Five Against the House See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Romson Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First filmed screenplay for writer/screenwriter Stirling Silliphant. See more »

Goofs

At one point Ronnie talks about how the archaeologist Schliemann "dug up the ruins of Troy in Greece." Troy was in Asia Minor, in modern Turkey, not in Greece. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Graduate (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

I Went Out of My Way
(uncredited)
Written by Helen Bliss
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User Reviews

First Rate "Buddy" Picture
14 August 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee 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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