Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank...
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Originally released in 1961 as Five Minutes to Live, this low-budget crime drama was later re-released as Door-to-Door Maniac. Fred narrates the film in flashback, detailing a suburban bank robbery that goes awry. In his simple plan, he hires a hard-up hood, Johnny Cabot to take the wife of the bank's vice president hostage. Cabot will hold her until he gets a call alerting him that Fred has been successful in getting ransom money. Cabot waits, and watches the Wilson house as the husband leaves for the bank and their young son heads off to school. Posing as a door-to-door guitar instructor, he forces his way into the house and takes Nancy Wilson hostage. At the bank, Fred talks his way into Ken Wilson's office, and presents his personal check for $70,000, intending that Wilson will withdraw the funds to cover the check as a ransom for his wife. He has Wilson call home to prove that Nancy is being held by the unstable Cabot, and gives Wilson 5 minutes to make his decision. If Fred ...Written by
FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE/DOOR-TO-DOOR MANIAC is a modest little potboiler, but for all it's worth, it's not at all bad. Fact is, there's a tense and very cleverly thought-out idea at the crux of this, which, at a glance, would appear to be a rather ordinary, assembly-line B crime picture.
Something of a cult favorite today, chiefly for it's inclusion of Johnny Cash as a sociopathic thief/killer, one of a mottle who embark on a killing spree in a small U.S. town, ringing doorbells of random homes, then slaughtering whomever answers. Cash's performance has a neophyte charm, but is delightfully weird(and he even manages to sneak his musical talents in a few times). In my personal opinion, though, this is Vic Tayback's show all the way...a sadly underrated character player, he shines in his role as a joyless, hard-as-nails crook.
A worthy slice of vintage Americana, blemished slightly by a wispy finale. Still, this should be a rewarding watch for many, and especially so for trivia lovers who might be curious to see early appearances by Rue McClannahan and Ronnie Howard.
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