Five (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Five (1951)

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One of the most pretentious "apocalypse" films ever made, Five is set in a lavish Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house--owned by Arch Oboler, the film's writer/producer/director. The "five" of the title are the only survivors of a nuclear disaster, all of whom have rather illogically converged in this house. William Phipps, the hero, was left untouched by the explosion because he'd been alone in an Empire State Building elevator! He is the first to arrive at the house, and is joined in quick succession by a pregnant woman (Susan Douglas), a fascistic soldier of fortune (James Anderson), an African American doorman (Charles Lampkin) and a shell-shocked bank clerk (Earl Lee). The clerk mercifully dies of radiation early on, leaving the remaining four to converse at great and boring length on all things philosophical. At long, long last, only the hero and the woman are left alive to do the "Adam and Eve" bit. Though Arch Oboler was one of the greatest radio writers of all time, Five proves that he was in over his head as a filmmaker; the dialogue evokes laughter rather than profound thought, and the plotline has logic holes big enough to drive trucks through.

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Critic Reviews for Five

All Critics (7)

Dull, talky, gloomy, pretentious, naive and slow-moving post-apocalyptic survival story of the unfit.

December 27, 2012 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Admirably grave, indelible parable of nuclear unease

July 28, 2012 | Full Review…
CinePassion

A beautifully realized, semi-pretentious, almost forgotten mini-classic of Atom Age after-the-bomb poetry and paranoia, 'Five' sketches its post-disaster environment with admirable economy; it now seems more like an 'art' film than a genre effort.

February 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

For all of his budgetary limitations, it's a strikingly atmospheric and handsome film and [Arch] Oboler creates an eerie sense isolation with simple techniques.

March 11, 2009 | Full Review…
Turner Classic Movies Online

Interesting in many ways, like its director (Arch Oboler), Five falls short of really hitting home.

February 1, 2009 | Rating: 66/100
Apollo Guide

While survivors with too much time on their hands argue, joke and flirt in the wilderness, enough juice finally kicks in from a found generator for waltzes to start playing on 45s. And not exactly a Hollywood happy ending, but with vintage charm to spare.

January 30, 2009 | Full Review…
NewsBlaze

Audience Reviews for Five

½

Although it's called five, I cannot give it a 5. This apocalypse film is not only depressing, it's boring too. There's no music for the most part, the actors don't know what to do with themselves, nothing really happens, and it doesn't even end. At least it succeeds in depressing the audience.

Aj V
Aj V

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