Five (1951)

“I’ve got to find out once and for all about those other people — I owe it to them; I owe it to myself.”

Synopsis:
Five survivors of a nuclear holocaust must deal with their circumstances and each other.

Genres:

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary points out, this groundbreaking film by Arch Oboler is known for being the first cinematic depiction of “the aftermath of nuclear warfare”. The pacing is a bit uneven, and some of the characterizations are unnecessarily cliched, but the film nonetheless possesses a true sense of pathos and despair. Especially notable is Susan Douglas’s nuanced performance as the shellshocked, pregnant housewife who must deal with the survival of both herself and her unborn child.

Redeeming Qualities:

  • The first film to depict a possible nuclear holocaust
    World Annihilation
  • Susan Douglas’s heartbreaking performance
    Susan Dirty
  • Scenes of post-nuclear cities devoid of all life
    Town

Must See?
Yes; this one is worth checking out.

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One Response to “Five (1951)”

  1. First viewing. Yes, a must – reasons well stated. This intriguing and ultimately moving cult item is somewhat rough but the directorial vision is rather strong. From its startling opening montage (impressive in itself for such a low-budget effort), through its haunting images of a survivor in an empty town (note the church sign: “…s-rm-n…-pent ye sin–rs”) and onward, it remains compelling. (Also, though I’m not sure why, there’s something in the tone, etc., that makes me think it was an influence on George Romero, at least for ‘Night of the Living Dead’.) Noteworthy as well is the film’s spiritual element (esp. as represented by the character of Charles, and the sum-up quote from the Book of Revelation – a source rarely quoted).

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