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Science Fiction - Five / 5ive

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Five / 5ive
William Phipps, Susan Douglas Rubes
James Anderson, Charles Lampkin, Earl Lee
Written and directed by Arch Oboler
Black and white
Originally released 1951
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
93 minutes

American radio dramatist Arch Oboler wrote, directed, and filmed this post nuclear apocalypse at his Frank Lloyd Wright home. Five aka 5ive is probably the first nuclear holocaust movie made in America. Strange factoid: Arch Oboler was the creator of the Light’s Out episode Chicken Heart Bill Cosby built a brilliant routine around that is available on Wonderfulness. 5ive or Five is now available on DVD as part of Sony’s Martini Pictures collection.

After a nuclear holocaust, a young woman named Roseanne (Susan Douglas is walking around looking for signs of life in a small town she spent some time in during her childhood. She comes to a home in the mountains and finds Michael (William Phipps) a professor. Just after Michael explains to Roseanne how there’s nobody left, two more men, a banker and a Black man, show up.

All the characters in 5ive are a bit mentally unstable. Who wouldn’t be? There is also the fact man may be as toxic as nuclear radiation.

Five is a strange film. Arch Oboler’s radio roots are quite obvious in the rather static, somewhat overly dramatic acting and its reliance on tell more than show. There is something oddly Bergmanesque about Five.

It is unfortunate that the Five DVD uses a rather darkish and greenish black and white print as its source. I am sure this movie’s visuals, especially from the Frank Lloyd Wright home, would have shown up better in crisp black and white. There are moments where the green tint isn’t quite as pronounced.

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