11 juin 1955. Le Passant Cinéphile est déçu. Bosley Crowther semble être en vacances. C’est le mystérieux A.W. qui signe la critique du nouveau film à l’affiche du Criterion, 5 Against the House. Sera-t-il aussi acerbe que son collègue ?
Critique d’époque originale :
« If there is any doubt that college boys are not swallowing goldfish these days, then 5 Against the House, which arrived at the Criterion yesterday, is a farily exciting indication that they are more imaginative and practical.The film’s uncommon undergraduates, who herein are coolly and scientifically attempting to rob Reno’s seemingly impregnable gambling palace, Harold’s Club, are involved in a taut but minor fiction. But brisk direction, crisp, idiomatic and truly comic dialogue and a story line that suffers only from some surface characterizations, make these 5 Against the House an absorbing crew.
Stirling Silliphant, William Bowers and John Barnwell, the scenarists (Messrs. Silliphant and Barnwell also produced), appear to have given their grand plan some serious thought. And their students are closer to being a lost generation than callow youths. Two of them are war veterans, one of whom is engaged to a sultry saloon singer, the other a psychoneurotic (as a result of war wounds), who is cute and benign until aroused. Then there is a rich, handsome and designing youngster with the abnormal curiosity to discover the chinks in Harold’s Club defenses, and a wise-cracking crew-cut, who is witlessly ready for any caper.Although their motivations would appear to be somewhat fragile, director Phil Karlson has given his melodrama mounting tension as the holdup plan is unfolded and suddenly builds from a theoretical challenge to frightening reality.
Credit Brian Keith with a superior portrayal as the rugged but sick ex-G. I., whose ailing mind turns this calculated escapade into a grim clash with the law. Guy Madison does an excellent stint as his level-headed buddy, who is devoted to his friend but struggles with his side-kicks against being inveigled, together with his fiancée, into this appalling and untenable situation.Alvy Moore is bright as the flip member of this strange team, but Kerwin Mathews is merely adequate as the mastermind of this extraordinary descent into crime. Kim Novak, as the blonde songstress who can’t quite make up her mind about her man, is as tempting a dish as any to have been set before a viewer this season. Miss Novak, in a clinging gown or slacks, is eminent reason for Guy Madison’s megrims.Harold’s Club, in short, has not been robbed and this blueprint will not make it any easier. However, the odds are in favor of « Five Against the House » as a suspensful diversion ». A.W. pour le New York Times.
A.W. vise juste. Si l’idée de base de 5 Against the House est relativement simple, la réalisation de Stirling Silliphant et l’interprétation sont d’un tout autre niveau. Brian Keith en tête dans le rôle de cet ancien GI souffrant de stress post traumatique.
Ma critique de On ne Joue pas avec le Crime (5 Against the House) est à retrouver directement ici.