Five Minutes to Live (1961)

It doesn’t matter how many hipsters embrace Johnny Cash. Cash transcends labels and goes beyond demographics. As a teenager, that photo of him violently thrusting his middle finger toward the camera got me through high school. And his book, Cash: The Autobiography is filled with the kind of amazing BS stories that probably aren’t true but totally could be, like him wandering in a cave to die, walking until his flashlight gave out but being lured back out by June Carter’s picnic cooking.

Along the way, Cash made Five Minutes to Live, also known as Door-to-Door Maniac. He’d appear in only movie that I think is stranger than this one, his 1973 vanity project Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus.

Cash is Johnny Cabbot, a man who uses his guitar skills to be a door-to-door teacher as a scam to kidnap a bank president’s wife, but the bank guy wants to run away with his mistress instead (Pamela Mason, first wife of James). There’s also a young Ron Howard and an impossibly young Vic Tayback, too. And Cash’s guitar played Merle Travis is also in here.

Yeah, Mel from Alice and the Man in Black in a gangster movie. Cash wrote the title song after hearing that his friend Johnny Horton died. I’ve also heard that the song “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)” is also for him. Horton was the second wife of Billie Jean Jones, the widow of Hank Williams.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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