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Door-to-Door Maniac / Five Minutes to Live 1961 Remastered Edition

Remastered Edition


2.7 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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. Written by msb/lll


Fred Dorella (Vic Tayback) concocts a scheme to rob $70,000 from a bank. With the help of bowling alley manager Max (Merle Travis) he enlists the aid of a psycho killer named Johnny Cabot (Johnny Cash). The plan is to hold Nancy Wilson (Cay Forester) hostage, and force her husband Ken (Donald Woods), an executive at the local bank, to simply hand the money over to Dorella. Dorella's plan involves calling Cabot every five minutes or Mrs Wilson gets it.

One wonders whether this low-budget drive-in fodder was the inspiration for that big Irish bank robbery a year or so ago. Even if it wasn't, it is clear that the Irish executed the plan with greater efficiency and success. They should have been called in to make this film as well. While it is not the worst movie I have ever seen, or even the worst I have reviewed for this site, it is laughably bad. The direction is terrible. There are long scenes that drag on and on without generating the suspense that they should. There is some terrible acting: witness the overplaying of the bank guard in the closing minutes. But even he is not as poor as Cash, who seems very uncomfortable. Donald Woods, a leading man of the 1930s, is adequate as the bank executive, but at 57 he is far too old for the role. His bit on the side is played by Pamela Mason, then wife of James Mason. And the Wilson's young son Bobby is played by none other than Ronnie (now Ron) Howard.

The plot is badly worked out as well. It's the sort of movie that is almost so bad that it's good. I found myself laughing out loud in inappropriate places because of the dialogue or the acting or both. If you like really bad movies, you might get a kick out of this. If you are a Johnny Cash fan, well, he sings a bit. The movie is also known as Door-to-Door Maniac, which was the title when it was reissued in 1966.

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Special features


Product details

  • Actors: Johnny Cash, Donald Woods, Cay Forrester, Pamela Mason, Vic Tayback
  • Directors: Bill Karn
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio:
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B001HJXK3M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,200 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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Customer reviews

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on July 14, 2012
Format: DVD|Verified Purchase
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on October 9, 2008
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