5 AGAINST THE HOUSE. Columbia Pictures, 1955. Guy Madison, Kim Novak, Brian Keith, Alvy Moore, Kerwin Mathews, William Conrad. Co-producer & co-screenwriter: Stirling Silliphant, based on the book by Jack Finney. Director: Phil Karlson.

   I’m not sure where it fits in historically, but this is a very early heist film, one that shows, as almost all of them do, how easily “perfect plans” can go wrong. Target: Harold’s Club, one of the most impregnable casinos in Reno of its era. The perpetrators: a small group of Korean War veterans going to college in Arizona on the GI Bill.

   Which explains why at least two of them (Guy Madison and Brian Keith) looks so much older than the other students on campus. The latter is having PTSD problems; the former, who is busy trying to persuade Kim Novak, a glamorous singer at a local student hangout, to marry him, is not in on the plan until too late.

   The first half of the film plays out at a near sophomoric comedy level — campus hi-jinks and so on — and it’s even hard to take the second half seriously when the “perfect plan” is as unworkable as it is. But any movie with Kim Novak in it is worth watching. What a beautiful woman she was. I wish it had been filmed in color. I really do: