Five (1951 film)

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Five

Theatrical release poster
Directed byArch Oboler
Produced byArch Oboler
Screenplay byArch Oboler
StarringWilliam Phipps
Susan Douglas Rubes
James Anderson
Charles Lampkin
Earl Lee
Music byHenry Russell
CinematographySid Lubow
Louis Clyde Stoumen
Editing byJohn Hoffman
Ed Spiegel
Arthur Swerdloff
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • April 25, 1951 (1951-04-25) (United States)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
 
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Five

Theatrical release poster
Directed byArch Oboler
Produced byArch Oboler
Screenplay byArch Oboler
StarringWilliam Phipps
Susan Douglas Rubes
James Anderson
Charles Lampkin
Earl Lee
Music byHenry Russell
CinematographySid Lubow
Louis Clyde Stoumen
Editing byJohn Hoffman
Ed Spiegel
Arthur Swerdloff
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • April 25, 1951 (1951-04-25) (United States)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Five (1951) is a post-apocalyptic science fiction film produced, directed and written by Arch Oboler. The title refers to the number of survivors of an atomic bomb disaster that wipes out the rest of the human race. According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, this film is the first to depict the aftermath of such a catastrophe.[1]

Contents

Plot

Roseanne Rogers (Susan Douglas Rubes) trudges from place to place, searching for another living human being. A newspaper headline reports a scientist's warning that detonating a new type of atomic bomb may cause humanity's extinction.

She eventually makes her way to her aunt's isolated hillside house and faints when she finds Michael (William Phipps) already living there. At first too numb to speak, she is slow to recover. She resists Michael's attempt to become intimate, revealing that she is married and pregnant.

Two more survivors arrive, attracted by the smoking chimney. Oliver P. Barnstaple (Earl Lee) is an elderly bank clerk who is in denial; he believes he is simply on vacation. He has been taken care of by Charles (Charles Lampkin), a good-natured African American. They survived because they were accidentally locked in a bank vault when the disaster occurred. Roseanne was in a hospital's lead-lined X-ray room, while Michael was in an elevator in the Empire State Building.

Barnstaple sickens, but seems to recover and insists on going to the beach. There, they drag a man out of the water. Eric (James Anderson), a mountain climber, was stranded on Mount Everest by a blizzard during the disaster. He was flying back to America when his plane ran out of gas just short of land. Meanwhile, Barnstaple dies peacefully.

The newcomer brings discord to the little community. Eric theorizes that they lived because they were somehow immune to the radiation. He wants to find and gather together other survivors. However, Michael is skeptical and warns that the radiation is the most intense in the cities Eric wants to search.

Eric reveals himself to be a racist; he can barely stand living with Charles. When Charles objects, they fight, stopping only when Roseanne goes into labor. She gives birth to a boy, delivered by Michael. Afterwards, while the others work to make a better life, Eric goes off by himself. Eric deliberately drives their jeep through the group's cultivated field, destroying part of their crops. Michael orders Eric to leave, but Eric shows he has a pistol and announces that he will leave when he is ready to.

One night, Eric tells Roseanne that he is going to the city. Needing to discover her husband's fate, Roseanne agrees to go with him, as he had hoped. Eric insists that she not tell Michael. However, after stealing supplies, Eric is stopped by a suspicious Charles. As they struggle, Eric stabs Charles in the back, killing him.

Once they reach the city, he begins looting, while she goes to her husband's office, then to the hospital waiting room. There she discovers her husband's skeleton. When Rosanne wants to return to the group, Eric refuses to let her go. They struggle and his shirt is torn open, revealing radiation poisoning. In despair, he runs away.

She begins the long walk back, but her baby dies along the way. Michael finds her and takes her home. When he starts farming, she joins him.

Cast

Production

The unusual house that is the setting for most of the film was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and owned by Arch Oboler.

Reception

In a recent review, film critic Sean Axmaker lauded the film, writing, "For all of his budgetary limitations, it's a strikingly atmospheric and handsome film and Oboler creates an eerie sense isolation with simple techniques."[2]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Five at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Axmaker, Sean. Turner Classic Movies, Movie News, film review. Last accessed: February 20, 2011.

Bibliography

External links