Saturday, July 10, 2010

Johnny Cash’s 1st film

Played a little catch up with my PVR this week, watching some things I taped over the past few months.

One of the items was a crime thriller called “Five Minutes To Live,” starring the one-and-only Johnny Cash.

The 1961 flick is notable for being Cash’s first movie role: Johnny and Vic Tayback (“Mel” on the ‘70s tv series, “Alice”) are a pair of bank robbers working on a small town bank heist.

Tayback corners the bank’s vice-president at the office while Johnny holds the VP’s wife hostage in the couple’s home. As the VP’s son, a cheeky 7-year old Ronnie Howard plays a key role; Howard appeared as “Opie” in "The Andy Griffith Show," was "Richie Cunningham" in the "Happy Days" tv series, and is now an accomplished director himself.

Cash plays a pretty wicked character, one who shows no remorse for his acts and contempt for most people around him. It’s a harsh role, even by today’s standards, so I can’t imagine how it came across when the film was originally released.

Johnny terrorizes the VP’s wife throughout; in many scenes, he’s simply noodling around on a guitar – at one point, he menacingly sings the film’s theme song while coldly staring his hostage down.

Johnny Cash – Five Minutes To Live (1961)
Scene from the movie

"Five Minutes To Live" was reissued as “Door-To-Door Maniac” in 1966.

Here’s the full theme song:

Johnny Cash – Five Minutes To Live (1961)