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: 5 Against the House (1955)  ( 1238 )
cigar joe
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« : September 29, 2011, 08:47:44 PM »

Director: Phil Karlson, with Guy Madison, Kim Novak, Brian Keith, Kerwin Mathews, William Conrad and Alvy Moore.

Synopsis: Four college buddies enjoy a night at a Reno casino and overhear a cop saying that robbing the casino "cannot be done." That gets the brainiest rich kid among them thinking up a plan for the perfect robbery. He convinces the others to join in when they hear that it will only be a college hoax, his plan being to let the police know where the money is afterwards.  

Its watchable, part of the Columbia Film Noir Collection Volume 1, its a bit hard to believe that four of the "5" are college students they almost all are in their thirties, aside from Novak who is actually 22 in this film but looks thirty with that hairdo. Yea two of them are Korean War Vets (Kieth & Madison) but to make it believable the parts of Mathews and Moore should have been played by younger actors.

Novak I've always found hit or miss in films. But I've not seen all that many of her filmography. I'm not overly fond of short hair on women and she's almost always cropped in short hair, it gives her an older look. Of her films, I like "Vertigo", "Bell Book & Candle", "Picnic", "The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders", "Boys' Night Out ", "Kiss Me Stupid" (possibly my fave), and she looks great in "The Legend of Lylah Clare" but the film is crap. I've seen "Jeanne Eagels", "The Notorious Landlady", but don't remember them well.

Regardless "5 Against the House" is a pretty hokey story and not very interesting visually, nor very Noir in style, until the aftermath of the heist sequence in a 4 story parking garage. 5/10 (hopefully this is the worst of the the three I hadn't seen (the other two being Murder By Contract & The Sniper).

This disc BTY has no commentary track.

« : September 30, 2011, 06:34:10 AM cigar joe »

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dave jenkins
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« #1 : September 30, 2011, 03:44:35 AM »

Yup, 5 gets at best a "5." Excellent write-up, Joe.  O0

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« #2 : September 24, 2013, 11:12:45 PM »

I liked 5 Against the House; I give it an 8/10.

I agree with CJ that Novak is very hit-or-miss.

I first saw her in Vertigo; I think she was absolutely fabulous in her scenes as Madeleine; I don't like her as much in her Judy scenes.

I liked her a lot in 5 Against the House.

But, as I mentioned in the Vertigo thread, when she has to play a scene where she is nervous or anxious, she tends to overact and talk really quickly and is rather annoying. That happens in the scene in Vertigo where Stewart forces her out of the car and to walk up the stairs, and in some scenes in Middle of the Night.

Lately, the more I see of her, the more I do not like her. Something about the way she talks annoys me. I just saw Picnic; I don't think she was very good in that movie (btw, William Holden, IMO one of the greatest actors of all-time, wasn't as good as usual in that movie). I also started watching Jeanne Eagels, and I didn't like her much in that movie. (I shut that movie off halfway through, I was not enjoying myself.)

So, other than in 5 Against the House and in her Madeleine scenes in Vertigo, I really don't like Novak much. In the past, I've said that I prefer Novak to Vera Miles and that I am happy Novak got the Vertigo role rather than Miles; but now I am not so sure. I mean, there's no way to know how Miles would have been, but overall, I prefer Vera Miles as an actress to Kim Novak.
Novak is getting all these accolades lately, like she recently got her hand/foot prints in Grauman's Chinese, probably almost entirely due to Vertigo's recent popularity growth. But overall, I really don't like her all that much. (Maybe she was only good when Hitch gave her "the manner"  ;) )

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