Five (1951)

Five (1951), written, produced and directed by Arch Oboler.

I had never heard of this obscure post-apocalyptic movie until reading about it in Douglas Brode's Lost Films of the Fifties. The micro-budget and relationship-heavy plot make it seem like a Euro-art film.

It's hard to believe this is from 1951; it looks like something made 10 years later. I'd file it with other films in the atomic war genre, such as:

The dialogue is sometimes artificial, but always very serious. The actors are not well known, but had TV careers.

The only one I know I've seen before is the dangerous, always sinister James Anderson, best known as the racist farmer in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). Younger here and with a surprising teutonic accent, he's the nazi serpent in the little garden the other survivors are trying to build. The racial enmity comes to a head when he speaks his mind and their black member says "Now it's out", and Anderson agrees, unashamed, "Now it's out".

And that's a another distinctive feature of this 1951 film, that we have a black actor playing a real person without good/evil exaggeration, but also dealing with a race angle in an adult fashion.

It's not a happy vision: five people left and they are still hating and fighting. One can make life miserable for the many, one of the sad laws of life.

The mountain home is the director's Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Available on DVD.