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Psycho Killer: That time Johnny Cash played a ‘door-to-door maniac’ in ‘Five Minutes to Live’
06.27.2017
10:06 am
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Psycho Killer: That time Johnny Cash played a ‘door-to-door maniac’ in ‘Five Minutes to Live’


‘Door-to-Door Maniac’ poster for sale at Westgate Gallery
 
The Man in Black’s acting debut came when he portrayed the deranged, practically foaming at the mouth cop killer “Johnny Cabot” in the 1961 film noir, Five Minutes to Live. Johnny, along with his partner (Vic Tayback, “Mel” from the 70s sitcom Alice) plot a unique bank robbery. Johnny knocks on the door of a housewife (Cay Forester, who wrote the script) offering to give her guitar lessons and then takes her hostage. Her husband (Donald Woods) a bank manager is told that she will be murdered unless Tayback’s character walks out of his bank with $70,000.

Their plans go wildly awry when the banker calmly informs the dumb duo that they’d be doing him a big favor by killing his wife so he can run off to Las Vegas with his mistress! Then their son (a young Ron Howard) comes home from school, throwing another wrench into the works.
 

 
The weirdest part of the film is the way they shoehorned in a Johnny Cash performance (albeit a completely twisted one) when “Johnny Cabot” decides to sing a murder ballad to his terrified hostage about her own impending death. You can skip directly to 36:10 to watch Cash-as-psychopath terrorize her with his guitar, performing “Five Minutes to Live.”

He’s not exactly “Frank Booth” from Blue Velvet, but he’s still pretty fucking creepy. On the movie poster Cash was described as “a lusty romantic guitar singing powerhouse.”

Five Minutes to Live was re-titled Door-to-Door Maniac for a 1966 re-release. Country great Merle Travis makes a cameo appearance.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.27.2017
10:06 am
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