5 Against the House (1955)

82-83 mins | Drama | June 1955

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HISTORY

Jack Finney's 5 Against the House was serialized in Good Housekeeping magazine Jul--Sep 1951. According to Oct 1954 DV news items, United Artists was originally set to release 5 Against the House with Frank Tashlin directing and his wife Mary Costa starring. Tashlin and Costa withdrew from the production when Columbia took over. DV news items record that Peter Godfrey was scheduled to replace Tashlin. According to the same items, Milly Vitale was under consideration for the role that eventually went to Kim Novak. Roddy McDowall and Robert Horton were also announced in starring roles but did not appear in the picture.
       According to a Sep 1954 NYT article, portions of the film were shot on location in Reno and Las Vegas, NV. A Jan 1954 DV news item indicates that filming was also set for Mill Valley, CA. The DV and HR reviews incorrectly include actors John Zaremba, George Brand, Mark Hanna, Carroll McComas and Hugh Sanders in the cast. The actors actually appeared in the 1955 Columbia release Chicago Syndicate (see ... More Less

Jack Finney's 5 Against the House was serialized in Good Housekeeping magazine Jul--Sep 1951. According to Oct 1954 DV news items, United Artists was originally set to release 5 Against the House with Frank Tashlin directing and his wife Mary Costa starring. Tashlin and Costa withdrew from the production when Columbia took over. DV news items record that Peter Godfrey was scheduled to replace Tashlin. According to the same items, Milly Vitale was under consideration for the role that eventually went to Kim Novak. Roddy McDowall and Robert Horton were also announced in starring roles but did not appear in the picture.
       According to a Sep 1954 NYT article, portions of the film were shot on location in Reno and Las Vegas, NV. A Jan 1954 DV news item indicates that filming was also set for Mill Valley, CA. The DV and HR reviews incorrectly include actors John Zaremba, George Brand, Mark Hanna, Carroll McComas and Hugh Sanders in the cast. The actors actually appeared in the 1955 Columbia release Chicago Syndicate (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 May 1955.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jan 1954.
---
Daily Variety
5 Oct 1954.
---
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1954.
---
Daily Variety
13 May 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
31 May 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Aug 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Nov 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Nov 54
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 55
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 May 55
p. 434.
New York Times
11 Jun 55
p. 8.
Variety
18 May 55
p. 8.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus comp
SOUND
Rec supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Five Against the House by Jack Finney (New York, 1954).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Out of This World," words by Johnny Mercer, music by Harold Arlen
"The Life of the Party," words by Hal Hackady, music by Billy Mure.
DETAILS
Release Date:
June 1955
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 10 June 1955
Production Date:
11 November--1 December 1954
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 April 1955
Copyright Number:
LP4587
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
82-83
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17351
SYNOPSIS

Korean war veterans and law students Al Mercer and Brick and their college friends, Ronnie, and Roy, visit Harold's Club and Casino in Reno, Nevada, where they promise one another to spend only one hour gambling. When Ronnie's intricate system for roulette fails, he is forced to cash a check, and while standing in line with Roy, the young men are mistakenly associated with a hoodlum who attempts to rob the club. Al prevents the pair from being arrested, and they hastily return to Midwestern University to begin the new school year. Al reunites with longtime girl friend Kay Greylek, while Roy hazes gullible young freshman Francis Spieglebauer, who is impressed to learn about Al and Brick's war service and Brick's near fatal head wound. One evening at a club where Kay sings, Brick is involved in a fistfight, thrashing his opponent until Al pulls him away. Al pleads with Brick, who has spent time in a veterans' mental ward, to control himself and Brick promises to try harder. Later that night, Al proposes to Kay, who asks him for more time before deciding. Later in the term, Ronnie devises a scheme to rob Harold's. When Brick is skeptical, Ronnie insists it can be done and claims he will prove it with their help. Ronnie buys a trailer under a phony name and builds a cart exactly like the ones used by the roving cashiers in the club. Ronnie explains to Brick and Roy that they can enter the club in disguise because Reno will be celebrating Jamboree Week and all the casino patrons will be expected to dress like miners. Ronnie ... +


Korean war veterans and law students Al Mercer and Brick and their college friends, Ronnie, and Roy, visit Harold's Club and Casino in Reno, Nevada, where they promise one another to spend only one hour gambling. When Ronnie's intricate system for roulette fails, he is forced to cash a check, and while standing in line with Roy, the young men are mistakenly associated with a hoodlum who attempts to rob the club. Al prevents the pair from being arrested, and they hastily return to Midwestern University to begin the new school year. Al reunites with longtime girl friend Kay Greylek, while Roy hazes gullible young freshman Francis Spieglebauer, who is impressed to learn about Al and Brick's war service and Brick's near fatal head wound. One evening at a club where Kay sings, Brick is involved in a fistfight, thrashing his opponent until Al pulls him away. Al pleads with Brick, who has spent time in a veterans' mental ward, to control himself and Brick promises to try harder. Later that night, Al proposes to Kay, who asks him for more time before deciding. Later in the term, Ronnie devises a scheme to rob Harold's. When Brick is skeptical, Ronnie insists it can be done and claims he will prove it with their help. Ronnie buys a trailer under a phony name and builds a cart exactly like the ones used by the roving cashiers in the club. Ronnie explains to Brick and Roy that they can enter the club in disguise because Reno will be celebrating Jamboree Week and all the casino patrons will be expected to dress like miners. Ronnie then shows them a recording device he has placed in the cart, which plays a recorded threat to convince the cashier that a man is hiding in the cart. After Ronnie promises a worried Roy that they will return the money as soon as his scheme works, Brick grows enthusiastic about the idea. Ronnie then reveals they will need another participant to carry out the carefully timed heist and wonders if Al would be willing to go along. Brick asks Al to join the others on the trip, but Al hesitates about leaving Kay for an entire week. When Kay suggests the time apart might be good for them, however, Al responds angrily and agrees to go with Brick. Later, Kay visits Al at his dorm room to apologize and admits her fears about marrying him have been foolish. She asks to accompany Al to Reno so they can marry and Al happily agrees. Before the trip, Brick secretly purchases a gun. On the trip, the men all take turns driving as the others ride in the trailer. When Al accidentally discovers the cart and recalls it being similar to the ones at Harold's, he demands an explanation. Ronnie is proud of his device and scheme, but Al is dismayed. Al tries to convince Brick of the folly of commiting the heist simply to prove a point, but Brick pulls his gun and tells Al he intends to rob the club for real. Brick fears being sent back to the hospital and believes that he is owed easy money for his war-time sacrifices. Brick forces Al to drive the rest of the trip, while in the trailer, Ronnie tells Kay the robbery details. When Kay insists she will go directly to the police, Ronnie convinces her to agree with Brick to drive the car to a safe place and provide them train tickets as planned, swearing that after the robbery, they can turn Brick in safely. In Reno, Kay agrees with Brick's request to hide the car, and the men dress in their disguises. Inside Harold's, Al and Brick converge on roving cashier Eric Berg, forcing him to leave his cart in the back, then at a side entry, Ronnie and Roy provide Eric with their cart. When Eric hesitates to go into the vault, Ronnie sets off the recording device, convincing Eric to comply. The robbery goes off as expected, but when the men race into the alley afterward and shed their disguises, Ronnie attempts to stop Brick. Brick knocks Ronnie down, snatches the money bag and flees for the train station, but the split second timing of the heist has been disturbed and he misses the train. Kay finds the others and reveals she has summoned the police, but Al insists on going after Brick, who is still armed. Al chases Brick and confronts him in a high rise garage as the police surround the building. Al soothes the distraught Brick, recalling their war days, and Brick finally breaks down. Al retrieves the gun and when turning Brick over to the police, insists that he be treated as a shell-shocked veteran, not a criminal. Relieved, Al and Kay head off to get married with Ronnie and Roy's approval. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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