Five Against the House (1955)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Caper  |   Release Date - Jun 10, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A little-known but enjoyable caper film, Five Against the House also has a bit of a film noir feeling to it -- which probably helps to explain why it's not better known. Had it either gone further in the direction of a lighthearted heist film or further in the direction of gritty, psychological noir tale, it may or may not have been a better film, but it would definitely have been easier to peg. Still, its sometimes-uneasy mixture of these genres is part of what gives it a special character. Five takes its time revving up; the first half hour is a lot of exposition, not always as well handled by its trio of screenwriters and director Phil Karlson as might be desired. But once it gets in gear, Five flies by with only a few missteps here and there. And while the caper is the hook, Five also gives enough flesh to its characters to make it an interesting study of some unlikely friends. Kim Novak is the big name here (although she was a nobody at the time of the film's release), and she turns in a fine performance. Guy Madison, Alvy Moore and Kerwin Mathews all are good as well, but it's Brian Keith whose work is the most interesting.