Five (1951 film)

Five (1951 film)

Infobox Film
name = Five

image_size =
caption =
director = Arch Oboler
producer = Arch Oboler
writer = Arch Oboler (story)
James Weldon Johnson (dialogue and poem)
starring = William Phipps
Susan Douglas Rubes
James Anderson
Charles Lampkin
Earl Lee
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = Columbia Pictures
released = April 25 1951
runtime = 93 minutes
country = USA
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id = 1:91571
imdb_id = 0043539

"Five" is a 1951 post-apocalyptic science fiction film produced, directed and written by Arch Oboler. The title refers to the number of survivors of an atomic bomb disaster that wipes out the rest of the human race. According to Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies, this film is the first to depict the aftermath of such a catastrophe.


Roseanne Rogers (Susan Douglas Rubles) trudges from place to place looking for another living human being. A newspaper posted at a church reveals a scientist's warning that the detonation of a new type of atomic bomb may cause humanity's extinction.

She eventually goes to her aunt's isolated hillside house and faints when she finds Michael (William Phipps) living there. At first too numbed by the scope of the disaster to speak, she slowly recovers. She strongly resists Michael's attempt to get more intimate with her, revealing that she is married and pregnant.

Then two more survivors turn up, attracted by the smoke from their fire. Oliver P. Barnstaple (Earl Lee) is an elderly bank clerk whose mind refuses to accept the situation; he believes he is simply on vacation. He has been taken care of by Charles (Charles Lampkin), a good-natured African American. They were accidentally locked in a bank vault when the disaster occurred. Roseanne was in the lead-lined X-ray room of a hospital, while Michael was in an elevator in the Empire State Building.

Barnstaple sickens, but seems to recover and insists on going to the beach. There, they drag a man out of the water. Eric (James Anderson), a mountain climber, was stranded on Mount Everest by a blizzard during the fatal period. He flew to America, running out of gas just short of land. With the new addition comes a subtraction though: Barnstaple dies peacefully.

The newcomer brings discord to the little community. Eric theorizes that they lived because they were somehow immune to the radiation. He wants to go find and gather together other survivors. However, Michael is skeptical and warns that the radiation is the most intense in the cities Eric wants to search. Eric also reveals himself to be a racist; he can barely stand living with Charles. When Charles objects, they begin to fight, stopping only when Roseanne goes into labor. She gives birth to a boy, delivered by Michael. Afterwards, while the others work to make a better life for themselves, Eric practices climbing or goes off by himself. On one occasion, Eric deliberately drives their jeep through the group's small cultivated field, destroying the crops. Michael orders Eric to leave, but Eric shows he has acquired a pistol and tells Michael that he will leave when he's ready to.

Late one night, Eric visits Roseanne to tell her that he is going to the city. Unable to resist finding out her husband's fate, Roseanne agrees to accompany him (as he had anticipated). Eric insists that she not tell Michael. However, after stealing supplies, Eric runs into Charles, who becomes suspicious. As they struggle, Eric stabs Charles in the back with a knife, killing him.

Once Eric and Roseanne reach the city, he starts looting while she goes first to Steven's office, then to the hospital waiting room, where she finds her husband's skeleton. When she wants to go back, Eric refuses to let her go. She struggles with him, tearing open his shirt and revealing the signs of radiation poisoning. In despair, he runs away.

She starts walking back, but her baby dies along the way. Michael finds her and takes her home. When he starts farming, she joins him.


*William Phipps as Michael Rogin
*Susan Douglas Rubes as Roseanne Rogers (as Susan Douglas)
*James Anderson as Eric
*Charles Lampkin as Charles
*Earl Lee as Oliver P. Barnstaple


The unusual house that is the setting for most of the film was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and owned by Arch Oboler.

ee also

*List of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction

External links

*tcmdb title|id=27624|title=Five

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