Five (1951)

June 15th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Arch Oboler | Cast: William Phipps, Susan Douglas Rubes, James Anderson, Charles Lampkin | US Sci-fi 91’

Arch Oboler’s ‘Five’ marked the original template for the many dramas to depict the aftermath of a nuclear war and you’ve got to hand it to him for not pulling his punches; realistically depicting radiation sickness and with a bleak and uncompromising conclusion.

Based on radio play ‘The Word’ there’s an awful lot of talk, but it consequently also benefits from a skilful use of sound. The film strongly resembles Oboler’s earlier independent production ‘Strange Holiday’ and like that creates a claustrophobic intimate drama despite being set against the backdrop of the wide open spaces.

Oboler was also responsible for the production design, and shows ingenuity in staging the action around the Frank Lloyd Wright guesthouse at his own Malibu ranch. @RichardChatten


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