Monday, April 19, 2010


This movie is also known as "Door-To-Door Maniac" and "Last Blood"; however, Five Minutes To Live is the original title that it was released under in 1961.

Vic Tayback is the brains behind a bank robbery. He'll go to the bank while Johnny Cash holds a bank manager's wife hostage. If Vic doesn't call every five minutes, Johnny is to kill the wife and cut out. The only hitch in the plan is that the crooks don't know that the bank manager is getting ready to run off with another woman.

Five Minutes To Live was Johnny Cash's big screen debut and while he wasn't the greatest of actors, he had enough raw talent to make you believe that he really was a psychotic killer.

The real surprise was Merle Travis as a local two-bit thug, who would like to hang with the big guys. He's shows just the right amount of nervousness and and backwardness in his character that makes for a great performance.

Five Minutes To Live bogs down a little near the middle, when the writer or director appears to be trying to make a statement about suburbia. They have Johnny and Vic talking about how dull things are in the burbs as the movie cuts to the family inside the home and and we get a glimpse of their dull everyday life. In a way, I guess the director/writer got their point across, since his is the dullest part of Five Minutes To Live. Thankfully it doesn't last that long.

The oddest part of the movie is when Johnny Cash, who has gotten into the home pretending to be a door to door guitar course salesman, sings the title song while holding the wife hostage.

There's a lot of cool lines in Five Minutes To Live and Johnny gets most of them, from "I like a messy bed" to my favorite "I guess you gals are all alike.....once Johnny steps on your starter"

Five Minutes To Live is far from a great movie, but it was a pretty good movie, even though it's obvious that it was filmed on a shoestring budget. It was well worth my time (80 minutes) to see Johnny Cash as a cool sadistic killer, plus finding out that Merle Travis had the makings of a great actor was just icing on the cake.

For a more in depth look at Five Minutes To Live, I would recommend you check out The Lightning Bug's Lair Review: CLICK HERE

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