Five Minutes to Live is a 1961 American crime film. It was re-titled Door-to-Door Maniac for a re-release in 1966. The film starred Johnny Cash and Cay Forrester who wrote the screenplay for the film that was produced by her husband Ludlow Flower. Although a fairly obscure film, the presence of Cash in the cast has given the film something of a cult following.
The film opens on Fred (Vic Tayback), sitting in a dark room, detailing his most recent bank robbery. He talks about how he has always had a plan for a small town bank robbery. He had teamed-up with hardened criminal, Johnny Cabot (Johnny Cash) to execute his plan. Cabot is to take the wife of the bank’s vice president hostage. He is to hold her until he gets a call from Fred informing him that they have the ransom money. Cabot watches the Wilson house as the husband leaves for work and their son heads off to school. At first, posing as a door-to-door guitar instructor, Cabot works his way into the house and takes Nancy Wilson (Cay Forrester) hostage.
At the bank, Fred talks his way into Ken Wilson’s (Donald Woods) office, and hands him a check for $70,000, informing Wilson that he will withdraw the funds to cover the ransom or his wife will die. He tells Wilson to call home in order to prove that Nancy is being held hostage, and then informs him that if he doesn’t call Cabot back in five minutes that Mrs. Wilson will die.
Wilson tells Fred that he’s been planning to leave his wife anyway and run off to Las Vegas with his mistress, Ellen (Pamela Mason). He tells Fred that he will be doing him a favor by killing his wife. Fred, however, does not believe that Ken will let his wife die. He is proven correct, as time ticks by, Wilson finally cracks and agrees to pay the ransom. Fred calls Cabot and starts the clock over again. As time ticks away, Fred works on Ken to collect the money so he can leave the bank safely. Meanwhile, at the Wilson house, Cabot is enjoying terrorizing his hostage.
Forcing her to listen to him play songs about her impending demise, shooting at her and making sexual advances toward her (which she tries to use to aid her escape to no avail). Back at the bank, Fred has been taken down by the police who arrived after someone tripped the silent alarm. As a result, Cabot is getting nervous having not received his expected call from Fred. Suddenly, in walks Little Bobby (Ron Howard), home for lunch.
Around this time the police finally arrive outside the Wilson house. In a panic, Cabot grabs Bobby and runs for it. He runs right into the yard and waiting police gunfire. Bobby pretends as though he’s been shot in the fight in order to get Cabot to put him down. After apparently being very upset by the accidental shooting of the young boy, Cabot runs back into the fight and is killed by police. Nancy runs outside to find her son alive and well. The film ends with Mr. Wilson driving to Las Vegas, but with his wife instead of his, now former, mistress.
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