AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Five Minutes to Live
Alternate Title: Door-to-Door Maniac
Director: Bill Karn (Dir)
Release Date:   1960
Premiere Information:   World premiere in Richmond, VA: 21 Nov 1960
Production Date:   began 15 Mar 1957
Duration (in mins):   80
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Cast:   Johnny Cash (Johnny Cabot)  
    Donald Woods (Ken Wilson)  
    Cay Forester (Nancy Wilson)  
    Pamela Mason (Ellen)  
    Midge Ware (Doris)  
    Victor Tayback (Fred Dorella)  
    Ronny Howard (Bobbie Wilson)  
    Merle Travis (Max)  
    Howard Wright (Pop)  
    Norma Varden (Priscilla)  

Summary: Johnny Cabot, a fugitive from the law, settles in the small town of Camellia Gardens with his new girl friend Doris. There underworld crook Fred Dorella approaches Johnny with a plan for a bank holdup. Johnny learns from Fred that Doris had tipped off the police in his recent brush with the law, and he kills her. The two men move quickly to put their scheme into action: After watching bank executive Ken Wilson leave his house, Johnny gains entrance by posing as a door-to-door salesman; he takes Nancy, Ken's wife, hostage while at the bank Fred demands that Ken hand over $70,000 for Nancy's release. Ken, who is planning to leave Nancy for another woman, is tempted to refuse to give the hoodlum the cash, but he relents and pays the ransom. After a bank guard recognizes Fred from a wanted poster and apprehends him, the police, aided by Ken, arrive in time to save Nancy. Johnny is killed in the ensuing shootout at the Wilson home. Realizing that he still loves his wife, Ken decides to give up the other woman for her. 

Production Company: Flower Film Productions  
  Somara Productions  
Distribution Company: Sutton Pictures  
  Astor Pictures  
  American International Pictures  
Director: Bill Karn (Dir)
  Mac V. Wright (Asst dir)
  Nathan R. Barragar (Asst dir)
Producer: James Ellsworth (Prod)
  Ludlow Flower (Exec prod)
  William Mace (Assoc prod)
  Robert L. Lippert (Prod addl material)
Writer: Cay Forester (Scr)
  Robert L. Joseph (Adpt)
  Palmer Thompson (Story)
Photography: Carl Guthrie (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Edwin Shields (Art dir)
Film Editor: Donald Nosseck (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Harry Reif (Set dec)
Music: Gene Kauer (Mus)
  Merle Travis (Guitar solo by)
Sound: William Rivol (Sd)
  Dale Knight (Sd)
Make Up: Armand Del Mar (Makeup)
  Scotty Rackin (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Charles Hall (Prod mgr)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "Five Minutes to Live" and "I've Come to Kill," words and music by Johnny Cash.
Composer: Johnny Cash
Source Text:

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Crime
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Bankers
Subjects (Minor): Guards
  Impersonation and imposture
  Small town life

Note: HR news items in early 1957 indicated the film went into production on 15 Mar 1957, but the film was not listed in production charts. Although a HR news item adds Betty Lane Cherry to the cast, her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Country singer Johnny Cash (1932--2003), who made his feature film debut in Five Minutes to Live , did not appear in another motion picture until the 1971 Paramount release A Gunfight .
       Although Five Minutes to Live was apparently shot first, actor Victor Tayback's feature film debut was made in the 1959 Sparta Productions picture T-Bird Gang , in which he appeared under the name "Vic Tabback" (see below). Tayback (1930--1990) was best known for his role as "Mel" on the television show Alice
       HR news items state that Five Minutes to Live had its premiere in late 1960 and went into wider release in 1961. The film was rereleased in Nov 1966 by American International Pictures as Door-to-Door Maniac , with a running time of 74 minutes. Producer Robert L. Lippert added new footage, including a rape sequence, for this version, according to a DV news item. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   4 Nov 1966.   
Hollywood Reporter   22 Feb 1957   pp. 5-6.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Mar 1957   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Nov 1960.   
Hollywood Reporter   6 Dec 1961.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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