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Five Finger Exercise (1962)

Not Rated | | Drama | 8 October 1962 (Sweden)
A long-married couple are at war with each other and with their teenage son and daughter. The presence of a handsome young tutor complicates and sensitizes the savage domestic tensions ... See full summary »


Daniel Mann


Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview:
Rosalind Russell ... Louise Harington
Jack Hawkins ... Stanley Harrington
Maximilian Schell ... Walter
Richard Beymer ... Philip Harrington
Annette Gorman Annette Gorman ... Pamela Harrington
Lana Wood ... Mary
Terry Huntingdon Terry Huntingdon ... Helen
Bill Quinn ... Salesman
Learn more

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A long-married couple are at war with each other and with their teenage son and daughter. The presence of a handsome young tutor complicates and sensitizes the savage domestic tensions which arise as the secret emotions of members of the family are shockingly revealed. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There are many kinds of love...But is there any without guilt?




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


In 1962 Rosalind Russell appeared in movies with both Natalie Wood (Gypsy) and this one with her sister Lana Wood. See more »


The hair and clothes of both Walter and Mary are only partially wet when they get back to the house even though they have both been completely immersed in the sea for an extended period. See more »


Louise Harington: I won't have you talking to him in that way. I won't have it.
Stanley Harrington: Why not?
Louise Harington: He's a brilliant boy. You talk about your money. Your money had nothing to do with getting him into Harvard.
Stanley Harrington: It didn't hurt.
Louise Harington: It was his brains, his brilliance!
Stanley Harrington: [scornfully] His brilliance!
Louise Harington: You haven't the least idea how to deal with a sensitive person. I understand him. I appreciate him.
Louise Harington: You know what you're doing to him, don't you? You're turning him into a mama's boy. A molly-coddled...
Louise Harington: That's not true!
Stanley Harrington: Any time I wanted to get him ...
See more »


Version of BBC Play of the Month: Five Finger Exercise (1970) See more »

User Reviews

Add a dysfunctional tutor
29 August 2016 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Five Finger Exercise ran on Broadway for the 1959-60 season for 337 performances and starred Roland Culver and Jessica Tandy. As it was produced by Fredrick Brisson on Broadway you knew that it would be for Rosalind Russell his wife if she wanted to do it. And apparently she did.

Of course having a British story with one of the leads American you had to make even more adjustments than normally to transfer a one set play to the screen. Instead of a nice English country estate the setting is the Pacific coast. Hawkins is an orphan immigrant who from the United Kingdom and became a millionaire. Part of the problem though is that he's not only British but a total Philistine who sneers at all the culture is wife tries to provide son Richard Beymer and daughter Annette Gorman. A Harvard education for Beymer and a tutor for Gorman so she can go to a nice finishing school. They've taken on a tutor in Maximilian Schell.

Russell came from a family where the father was a learned professor who was also a compulsive gambler and the family was on the edge of poverty.

Essentially Russell and Hawkins come from two different places with entirely different sets of values. There is an permanent conflict in their relationship and Schell boarding with the family with his issues about having an unreconstructed Nazi for a father and a totally submissive mother just brings everything to a boil.

I think the work should have been either all British or all American. The worst scene in the film was Hawkins listening to an American baseball game between Cincinnati and San Francisco. I listened and heard no familiar names in the commentary of the game. You'd think the authors would have used real Reds and Giants player names of the time. Hawkins looked like he didn't know what was happening. He probably would have been right at home listening to an English cricket or soccer match.

Imagine if Jessica Tandy had done the film. That would have had her co-starring with her former husband. Well it worked for Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck in Night Walker.

This study of a dysfunctional family and its dysfunctional tutor would have worked better in its original British setting.

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Release Date:

8 October 1962 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Bes Parmak See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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