Five Minutes to Live (1961)

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 fails to call the house back, Cabot is to kill Nancy. Wilson confesses to Fred that he has been planning to run off to Las Vegas with Ellen, the woman he has been having an affair with, and Fred will be doing him a favor by getting rid of Nancy. But as the minutes tick by, Wilson cracks and agrees to give him the money. Fred make the first call to save Nancy. The clock starts ticking again, another 5 minutes, for Fred to collect the money and get out of the bank safely. While Fred is working on Wilson, Nancy is terrorized by Cabot– manhandled and shot at, invited to slip into something more comfortable (which she does in a futile attempt to distract him) and finally forced to listen to him serenade her with “Five Minutes to Live” and “I’ve Come to Kill” while he waits for the second call. The call hasn’t come as Fred has been overpowered by the police, who were alerted by the bank’s silent alarm. Cabot is getting more and more stressed. While worrying about Fred not calling, he is completely thrown by Little Bobby arriving home for lunch just as the police arrive at the Wilson house. Cabot panics, grabs Bobby and runs into the yard under police fire. Bobby fakes his death to save himself, and Cabot is shot by a cop in the yard. Nancy is reunited with her now-contrite husband, who decides he will still go to Las Vegas, but with Nancy.

(Plot summary written by msb/lll)


Runtime original: 01:20:00

Runtime at 90to5: 00:04:59

Director: Bill Karn

Writer: Cay Forester (screenplay), Palmer Thompson (based on story by), Robert L. Joseph (adaptation – as Robert Joseph)

Editor: Donald Nosseck

90to5 Editor: Jesse Angelo

90to5 Editor Website: Jesse Angelo’s Facebook page

90to5 Editor Bio:

As A fan of Johnny Cash I could not resist choosing this flick!

— Jesse Angelo



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1 Responses

  1. Congrats Jesse! I enjoyed that cut! Just going to tell you two things:

    1) Positive: You caught the main “beats” (turning points, actions…) of the feature, didn’t you? That’s really awsome. I see a fantastic summary – though this is related to the second point.
    2) Something to consider: what I miss most is an interesting pace supporting those actions. Although this is a very good summary, I’ve felt it kind of rapid – jumping from beat to beat. How can rhythm improve the story? I mean, as it was done in the movie, it’d be intriguing to watch some suspense in some parts – in the first half, for instance.

    By the way, it’s interesting the risk of removing all the mistress’ storyline, yep. I like that, but don’t you think it takes away the tone of the film.
    All in all, I encourage you to consider whether the pace or this “excluded plot” may fit inside 5’50”

    You may answer my questions or just wonder what to do – I’m just a nobody, so don’t take these words to seriously, 😉 Remember you have 50 seconds left “to live,” hehe.

    Thanks for entertaining 90to5 since the very first moment!

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