Five Came Back

Five Came Back

Director: John Farrow, Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie

Cast: John Farrow, Chester Morris, Lucille Ball, Wendy Barrie

     
 
Often cited as a "model" B picture, Five Came Back is set in motion when the twelve-seat passenger plane "Southern Star" crashes into a treacherous South American jungle. With a hostile tribe of headhunters drawing ever closer, pilots Bill (Chester Morris) and Joe (Kent Taylor) race against time to repair the crippled plane and rescue themselves and the nine

Overview

Often cited as a "model" B picture, Five Came Back is set in motion when the twelve-seat passenger plane "Southern Star" crashes into a treacherous South American jungle. With a hostile tribe of headhunters drawing ever closer, pilots Bill (Chester Morris) and Joe (Kent Taylor) race against time to repair the crippled plane and rescue themselves and the nine other survivors, who begin to fight for survival. These include: spineless socialite Judson Ellis (Patric Knowles), his embittered wife Alice (Wendy Barrie), elderly scientist Spengler (C. Aubrey Smith), Spengler's devoted spouse Martha (Elizabeth Risdon), trollop Peggy (Lucille Ball), condemned anarchist Vasquez (Joseph Calleia), Vasquez' detective-captor Crimp (John Carradine), likeable mob henchman Pete (Allen Jenkins), and gangster's son Tommy (Casey Johnson). Eventually, it becomes apparent that the repaired plane can only carry five passengers; the others must remain and fight hostile natives. Suffice to say that the ending is determined by random acts of courage, cowardice, and unexpected self-sacrifice. Scripted by Nathaniel West and Dalton Trumbo and brilliantly directed by John Farrow, Five Came Back was a major critical and financial success for the beleagured RKO. Director Farrow remade the film in 1956 as Back From Eternity.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The premise of Five Came Back is one that audiences have seen countless variations on in the decades since the film was released -- and indeed, it probably wasn't totally fresh in 1939. This familiarity works against Five, but if a viewer can overlook the predictability factor, he is very likely to find himself hooked and enjoying it, even as he tells himself that he shouldn't. That's because the trio of screenwriters have done their work well; Five sets up the plot and works it through to its logical conclusion in a tight, professional manner. If it leaves little room for character development and falls back on stereotypes, it still works, thanks to John Farrow's excellent direction. Lean and focused, Farrow's work is all about propulsion, making an asset of the film's short running time to create tension and atmosphere. He is aided by a fine cast that works together like a well oiled machine. Special mention must be made of Lucille Ball, if only because the performance is a departure for those who know her mostly from her television work. Five gets a little rushed toward the end, and its "B" movie origins are obvious in its artificial jungle sets, but overall it's a tidy and engrossing thriller.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/23/2015
UPC:
0888574280321
Original Release:
1939
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Time:
1:15:00
Sales rank:
12,099

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chester Morris Bill
Lucille Ball Peggy Nolan
Wendy Barrie Alice Melhorne
John Carradine Crimp
Allen Jenkins Peter
Joseph Calleia Vasquez
C. Aubrey Smith Prof. Henry Spengler
Kent Taylor Joe Brooks
Patric Knowles Judson Ellis
Elizabeth Risdon Martha Spengler
Casey Johnson Tommy Mulvaney
Dick Hogan Larry
Frank Faylen Press Photographer

Technical Credits
John Farrow Director
Jerry Cady Screenwriter
Richard Carroll Original Story
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Harry Marker Editor
Nick Musuraca Cinematographer
Van Nest Polglase Art Director
Robert Sisk Producer
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Dalton Trumbo Screenwriter
Vernon Walker Special Effects
Roy Webb Score Composer
Nathanael West Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Five Came Back
1. Chapter 1 [1:14]
2. Chapter 2 [1:45]
3. Chapter 3 [2:04]
4. Chapter 4 [3:19]
5. Chapter 5 [2:42]
6. Chapter 6 [4:01]
7. Chapter 7 [2:18]
8. Chapter 8 [1:45]
9. Chapter 9 [2:34]
10. Chapter 10 [3:02]
11. Chapter 11 [4:48]
12. Chapter 12 [1:42]
13. Chapter 13 [1:51]
14. Chapter 14 [3:38]
15. Chapter 15 [4:02]
16. Chapter 16 [2:16]
17. Chapter 17 [2:39]
18. Chapter 18 [2:11]
19. Chapter 19 [3:18]
20. Chapter 20 [3:05]
21. Chapter 21 [2:29]
22. Chapter 22 [2:48]
23. Chapter 23 [3:14]
24. Chapter 24 [3:21]
25. Chapter 25 [3:01]
26. Chapter 26 [2:59]
27. Chapter 27 [2:07]
28. Chapter 28 [:46]

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