Five (1951)

93 mins | Drama | October 1951

Director:

Arch Oboler

Writer:

Arch Oboler

Producer:

Arch Oboler

Editor:

John Hoffman

Production Designer:

Arch Oboler

Production Company:

Lobo Productions
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HISTORY

According to onscreen credits, the film's subtitle was "A Story About the Day After Tomorrow." Lines from the poem "Creation" by Harlem Renaissance poet James Weldon Johnson appear in the opening credits, and a quote from the biblical book of Revelation. 21 appears onscreen at the end. Arch Oboler's first onscreen credit reads: "Produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler." Although Earl Lee's character is listed as "Mr. Barnstaple" in the cast credits, he is called "Oliver Peabody Schaeffer" in the film. Oboler also wrote a radio show similar in theme to Five , which featured Bette Davis. The film was shot at Oboler's 360-acre ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, and "Cliff House," a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Cliff House was the Oboler family residence.
       According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Five risked not receiving a code seal because of a "too graphic montage depicting the pangs and struggles of childbirth." No drafts of the script had been received by the PCA, and Oboler, who made the film as an independent venture, stated that, although he could re-edit the film, re-recording the soundtrack would prove too expensive. According to an 8 Feb 1951 PCA memo, Oboler agreed to distribute the film in the "'art circuit'" without a certificate. The childbirth scene was apparently edited down, but not entirely eliminated. A 14 Dec 1950 HR news item reported that Five was to have its first showing "in early January at Lake Success for a special committee of United Nations delegates," but it has not been confirmed ... More Less

According to onscreen credits, the film's subtitle was "A Story About the Day After Tomorrow." Lines from the poem "Creation" by Harlem Renaissance poet James Weldon Johnson appear in the opening credits, and a quote from the biblical book of Revelation. 21 appears onscreen at the end. Arch Oboler's first onscreen credit reads: "Produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler." Although Earl Lee's character is listed as "Mr. Barnstaple" in the cast credits, he is called "Oliver Peabody Schaeffer" in the film. Oboler also wrote a radio show similar in theme to Five , which featured Bette Davis. The film was shot at Oboler's 360-acre ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, and "Cliff House," a Frank Lloyd Wright design. Cliff House was the Oboler family residence.
       According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Five risked not receiving a code seal because of a "too graphic montage depicting the pangs and struggles of childbirth." No drafts of the script had been received by the PCA, and Oboler, who made the film as an independent venture, stated that, although he could re-edit the film, re-recording the soundtrack would prove too expensive. According to an 8 Feb 1951 PCA memo, Oboler agreed to distribute the film in the "'art circuit'" without a certificate. The childbirth scene was apparently edited down, but not entirely eliminated. A 14 Dec 1950 HR news item reported that Five was to have its first showing "in early January at Lake Success for a special committee of United Nations delegates," but it has not been confirmed that this screening took place.
       According to a HR news item, Oboler sold all interest in Five to Columbia, the film's distributor, in 1952. Oboler, a former radio writer, made Bwana Devil , the first feature-length 3-D movie, and also innovated a 3-D process called Space-Vision. Ed Spiegel, Louis Clyde Stoumen and Arthur L. Swerdloff were all former USC students. The onscreen credit for Spiegel, Stoumen, Swerdloff and Sidney Lubow reads "Photography, editing and production assistance through arrangement with Montage Films, Inc." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 May 1951.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 51
p. 4.
Film Daily
26 Apr 51
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Dec 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 52
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
17 Dec 1950.
---
Los Angeles Times
29 Aug 1951.
---
Motion Picture Daily
30 Apr 1951.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
15 Apr 51
p. 802.
New York Times
31 Dec 1950.
---
New York Times
26 Apr 51
p. 34.
Variety
25 Apr 51
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cine consultant
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Spec sd eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Photog, ed and prod asst
Photog, ed and prod asst
Photog, ed and prod asst
Photog, ed and prod asst
Exec secy
[Architect of] "Cliff House"
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1951
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 25 April 1951
Los Angeles opening: 28 August 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Lobo Productions
Copyright Date:
24 September 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1169
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15197
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After a nuclear blast kills most of the world's population, Roseanne, a pregnant young woman, wanders through a small town, finding only the skeletal remains of the inhabitants. Traumatized, she makes her way to her aunt's country house but discovers that her aunt has died in the disaster and that a young man, Michael Rogin, is now living in the house. When Michael first appears, Roseanne screams and faints. As she wakes up, Michael declares that he recognizes her from photos he found at the house, and Roseanne later explains that the man seen with her in the photos is her husband. Michael tells her that he was operating an elevator at the Empire State Building when the blast occurred, and that he believed that he was the only one alive in all New York City. Roseanne explains that at the fateful moment, she was in the hospital getting x-rayed, and Michael surmises that the lead walls of the x-ray room saved her. The pair set up housekeeping, with Michael, a misanthropic ne'er-do-well from Dartmouth, exclaiming his satisfaction at having a chance to start his life over again close to nature. When Michael tries to kiss Roseanne, she sobs and informs him that she is pregnant. Just then, they hear a car horn honk and go out to meet Oliver Peabody Schaeffer, a banker, and Charles, a black bank cashier, who survived the blast because they were locked in the bank vault. Schaeffer is in a state of delirium, and eventually the telltale signs of radiation poisoning--purplish marks on the skin--become visible. Charles and Michael begin installing a generator and planting crops, and Schaeffer, his ... +


After a nuclear blast kills most of the world's population, Roseanne, a pregnant young woman, wanders through a small town, finding only the skeletal remains of the inhabitants. Traumatized, she makes her way to her aunt's country house but discovers that her aunt has died in the disaster and that a young man, Michael Rogin, is now living in the house. When Michael first appears, Roseanne screams and faints. As she wakes up, Michael declares that he recognizes her from photos he found at the house, and Roseanne later explains that the man seen with her in the photos is her husband. Michael tells her that he was operating an elevator at the Empire State Building when the blast occurred, and that he believed that he was the only one alive in all New York City. Roseanne explains that at the fateful moment, she was in the hospital getting x-rayed, and Michael surmises that the lead walls of the x-ray room saved her. The pair set up housekeeping, with Michael, a misanthropic ne'er-do-well from Dartmouth, exclaiming his satisfaction at having a chance to start his life over again close to nature. When Michael tries to kiss Roseanne, she sobs and informs him that she is pregnant. Just then, they hear a car horn honk and go out to meet Oliver Peabody Schaeffer, a banker, and Charles, a black bank cashier, who survived the blast because they were locked in the bank vault. Schaeffer is in a state of delirium, and eventually the telltale signs of radiation poisoning--purplish marks on the skin--become visible. Charles and Michael begin installing a generator and planting crops, and Schaeffer, his condition improving, begs that they take him to the seashore. At the beach, Michael imagines that he can see Coney Island, and just then, the body of a man, Eric, washes up on shore. Eric, an explorer who had been marooned atop Mt. Everest when the blast occurred, found his way across Asia and America by plane, and then finally ran out of gas and crashed. Schaeffer dies, and the group returns to the house. Eric explains that he wants to go to the city where there are food and luxury items, and is disgruntled with the other men's insistence on living the primitive life. Eventually, Eric insists that they go back to the city as they all have a seeming immunity to the radiation, but Michael argues that Roseanne, nearing her term, is not well enough to travel. Eric then displays his virulent racism toward Charles, saying that he cannot stand being so close to a black man, and the two fight. After Roseanne gives birth, Charles offers to leave the house in order to keep the peace. Michael says that they cannot make the same mistakes as those did before them, and he goes to speak to Eric, who promises that his outburst was only the result of tension. Michael asks Eric to join in the work, and Eric agrees, but then sits in the sun smoking cigarettes instead of working. As Michael declares his love for Roseanne one morning, a buzzard flies over head. Charles appears and tells Michael that Eric sabotaged the crops, but Michael, wishing to protect his loved one, tells Roseanne that it was an animal. Sometime later, Roseanne and Michael kiss, but Roseanne accidentally calls him "Steven," her husband's name, then runs away crying. That night, Eric goes to Roseanne's room and tells her that he is going to the city for a few days and that she should come with him to look for her husband. Roseanne hesitates but then decides to go, and the two plan to sneak out of the house and meet on the road. On his way out, Eric encounters a surprised Charles and stabs him to death. The next day, Michael discovers Charles' body, then finds the note that Roseanne left. In the city, Eric and Roseanne drive through burned-out streets, which are littered with skeletons. Roseanne goes first to her husband's former office, an architectural firm, and then to the waiting room at the hospital, where she was being x-rayed. There she discovers her husband's skeleton, shrieks in horror, and returns to Eric. After Eric announces that he has no intention of returning to the country house, he grabs Roseanne, who tries to flee. During the struggle, Eric notices signs of radiation poisoning on his arms and, howling in agony, runs away. Roseanne then makes her way back to the country house, and en route her baby dies. After Michael, who has gone out to search for Roseanne, finally catches up to her, they bury the infant. The couple goes back to the house, and Roseanne helps Michael to replant the crops and thus begin their new life together. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.