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Film / Five Miles to Midnight

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Five Miles to Midnight (French: Le Couteau dans la plaie, literally "The Knife in the Wound") is a 1962 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Anatole Litvak. It stars Sophia Loren, Anthony Perkins, Gig Young, and Jean-Pierre Aumont.

Lisa (Loren), an Italian woman, has a fight with her American husband Robert Macklin (Perkins) and decides to leave him due to his abusive behavior. He leaves for a business trip, and Lisa later learns that his plane crashed and there were no survivors reported. Lisa believes this to be the end of her ordeal, only to find Robert having crawled back to their flat, injured but alive, having survived by a stroke of luck. He reveals to her that he has a life insurance and wants her to collect it, and although she knows that it's a bad idea, Robert agreeing to leave her once she hands it to him leads her to accept. Lisa must contend with the complications of the scheme, which involve David (Young), a man interested in Lisa; Robert's jealousy, and her own guilt. Eventually the stress of putting up with Robert is too much for Lisa, and she must make a decision on the way to the Belgian border.

This film features examples of:

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Robert is absolutely possessive of Lisa, at one point "joking" that he would shoot any man who looks interested in her.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Eventually the stress of putting up with Robert is too much for Lisa, and when he admits that he never intended to give her up, she runs him over at the stop before the Belgian border.
  • Domestic Abuse: Robert is very clearly physically and emotionally abusive to Lisa.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The very first scene of the film is Lisa going to a nightclub only to be pulled out by Robert, who then fights with her, establishing Robert's jealousy and their troubled relationship.
  • Faking the Dead: Robert decides to keep the charade of him being believed dead in order to collect his life insurance.
  • Insurance Fraud: Robert takes advantage of being believed dead to collect his life insurance.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Robert is believed dead after the plane he was in crashes, but turns out to have survived, albeit injured.