"The Fifth Floor" (1978)
Posted: 30 Nov 2019, 20:57
NOW STREAMING: "The Fifth Floor", a 1978 mental hospital melodrama about a desperate young girl wrongly committed to a psychiatric ward because she is thought to suffer from paranoid delusions. Being 1978, it's all very discoey, right from the opening scene of the happy and carefree dancers. And sure enough, that most glittery of disco labels, Casablanca Records, had a hand in the making of this fine piece of exploitation. It is quite an engaging B-movie, surprisingly well shot and acted, with a narrative drive that never lets up for the 90 min. duration. We follow Kelly's futile attempts to break free, to convince the staff that she doesn't belong there. It is really tempting to give in to the inevitability of the whole thing. We recognize all those familiar scenes from previous films. Every stock character is there, from the condescending psychiatrist, to the stern and matronly nurses, to the randy orderly who oversteps his boundaries, sleazebag that he is. It's all very Movie of the Week, but the deft Panavision cinematography keeps it from going straight to video. Perhaps it could even be called "Cuckoo's Nest set to a disco beat", jacked with enough gore and sleaze that we don't even care if it's based on a true story or not. This is a rebel film, it wants your respect and will not be satisfied with a late showing on cable.