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.
Running Time: 80 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
Johnny Cash debuted in a starring role in this trite exploitation film. Cash plays a cool-headed murderer who mugs then holds hostage the wife of a bank president, Forester. No problem except that bank executive, Woods, is seeing another woman, Mason, and planning to dump Forester anyway. Tayback is Cash's partner in crime, and Ron Howard is his precocious son. The screenplay is by M.K. Forester, which happens to be the pen name for Cay Forester, the victim of the tale. (TVGuide.com)
Imagine that! A low budget film that feature Johnny Cash as a killer who serenades his victims! DOOR TO DOOR MANIAC (aka FIVE MINUTES TO LIVE) features then up and coming Johnny Cash as cold blooded killer Johnny Cabot. Johnny is talked into an unusual bank heist, where Johnny has to hold a bank executive's wife hostage. Complications arise with the executive's mistress, son (Played by Ron "Grinch" Howard) and a couple of bank employees who think they can become heroes! The acting in this film borders community theatre, except for Cash, who is wonderfully cold-blooded as the villain. He has these wild, wild spurts, where he prances around his prey, spouts Tarantino-like tough talk with ease, and gives out with these wonderful eye gestures. Some of the more experienced supporting cast have their moments, such as Vic Tayback, as the accomplice. One of the true joys of my crazy video collection. (amazon.com)
Robert L. Joseph
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