Five Days from Home (1978)

PG | 109 mins | Drama | 1978

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HISTORY

       As noted in a 29 May 1979 HR article, the picture initially had the working title The Long Escape.
       The film represented George Peppard’s debut as a feature film director and producer through his independent company, Long Rifle Productions. In a 25 Jan 1979 HR article, Peppard stated that he was the principal investor and sold several assets, including his car, to raise money for the project. Producer Max Youngstein was also mentioned as a contributor, but is not listed in the screen credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 24 Jan 1977 in Springhill, LA. Cast and crew relocated to NM and locations in and around Albuquerque and Española, including the Carson National Forest for the snow scenes. Production wrapped in Los Angeles, CA, for the film’s final sequence.
       The beagle puppy, “Nick,” and an identical back-up from the same litter were found after Peppard placed an advertisement in the local Springhill newspaper. The actor was the only person permitted to train and feed Nick so that the puppy would respond to him on camera.
       In an Associated Press interview syndicated in the 30 Apr 1979 Wilmington Morning Star, Peppard said the film cost approximately $1 million dollars and Universal Pictures paid $1.25 million for domestic rights, while he retained foreign rights. According to production notes, the Universal agreement was signed 21 Dec 1977. As reported in a 1 May 1978 Box article, the studio initially released the film in eight cities across AR, LA, and MS during spring 1978 and ... More Less

       As noted in a 29 May 1979 HR article, the picture initially had the working title The Long Escape.
       The film represented George Peppard’s debut as a feature film director and producer through his independent company, Long Rifle Productions. In a 25 Jan 1979 HR article, Peppard stated that he was the principal investor and sold several assets, including his car, to raise money for the project. Producer Max Youngstein was also mentioned as a contributor, but is not listed in the screen credits.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography began 24 Jan 1977 in Springhill, LA. Cast and crew relocated to NM and locations in and around Albuquerque and Española, including the Carson National Forest for the snow scenes. Production wrapped in Los Angeles, CA, for the film’s final sequence.
       The beagle puppy, “Nick,” and an identical back-up from the same litter were found after Peppard placed an advertisement in the local Springhill newspaper. The actor was the only person permitted to train and feed Nick so that the puppy would respond to him on camera.
       In an Associated Press interview syndicated in the 30 Apr 1979 Wilmington Morning Star, Peppard said the film cost approximately $1 million dollars and Universal Pictures paid $1.25 million for domestic rights, while he retained foreign rights. According to production notes, the Universal agreement was signed 21 Dec 1977. As reported in a 1 May 1978 Box article, the studio initially released the film in eight cities across AR, LA, and MS during spring 1978 and gradually expanded across other Southern and Central states before opening in the bigger city markets, such as Los Angeles. The article noted that Universal had success using a similar “‘regional concept’” with their box-office hit Smokey and the Bandit (1977, see entry).
       Owing to foreign distribution sales in twenty-six countries, the film earned a profit, according to the 25 Jan 1979 and 29 May 1979 HR articles, and was expected to continue to make money from television deals. During the promotional tour for Five Days from Home, Peppard was planning to produce a second independent feature titled Gambler’s Luck.
       A 20 Sep 1979 HR brief announced that Peppard and music composer Bill Conti filed a $4 million claim against the production and distribution companies of the feature Firepower (1979, see entry) for copyright infringement of Conti’s Five Days from Home theme.
       The film marked the feature film debut of Savannah Smith (“Georgie Haskins”), the older sister of co-star Sherry Boucher (“Wanda Dulac”), who was married to George Peppard at the time.
      End credits include the following written statements: “Five Days from Home was produced by George Peppard; The producer appreciates the cooperation and assistance of the citizens of Springhill, Louisiana, the city of Minden, Louisiana, the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, the Louisiana Film Commission, the New Mexico Film Commission and with special thanks to Mr. Jesse L. Boucher; Portions of this picture were filmed in the Carson National Forest, Forest Service U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 May 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1978
p. 2, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Jan 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 May 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Sep 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1979
Section B, p. 6.
Variety
19 Apr 1978
p. 26.
Wilmington Morning Star
30 Apr 1979
Section C, p. 5.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Long Rifle Productions presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opticals by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Love Theme," lyrics by Norman Gimbel, music by Bill Conti, sung by Gene Morford.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Long Escape
Release Date:
1978
Premiere Information:
AR, LA and MS opening: spring 1978
Los Angeles opening: 9 March 1979
Production Date:
began 24 January 1977
Copyright Claimant:
Powderhorn Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 August 1978
Copyright Number:
PA14409
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
109
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Days before Christmas, convict and former policeman, T. M. Pryor, escapes from a Louisiana state prison where he has been serving a six-year sentence for killing his wife’s lover. Although his parole is forthcoming, Pryor is desperate to see his nine-year old son, Thomas, who was injured in an automobile accident in Los Angeles, California. After dodging bloodhounds and helicopters in the deep swamp, Pryor hides on the back of a hay truck. Along the way to freedom, he overhears a radio report that he brutally stabbed a guard to death during the escape. When the truck stops in a small town that evening, Pryor breaks into a sporting goods store and steals a gun, ammunition, camouflage clothing and a knife. He leaves a note that includes a promise he will pay the store owner back and a message to the warden that he hit the prison guard, but did not kill him. Outside the store, Pryor surprises a police officer at gunpoint, handcuffs him to a post and steals his car. On the highway, Pryor abandons the police vehicle and kidnaps a young woman named Georgie Haskin, who is driving home from work. Concealed in the backseat with the gun aimed at Georgie, Pryor instructs her to drive toward the police roadblock and pretend everything is fine. Terrified, Georgie obeys, and they successfully cross into Arkansas. After a quick stop at a hamburger stand, Pryor tells Georgie to drive west toward McKinney, Texas. Meanwhile, Inspector Markley, a tracking specialist, is assigned by the Louisiana governor to lead the pursuit and decides to begin the search in ... +


Days before Christmas, convict and former policeman, T. M. Pryor, escapes from a Louisiana state prison where he has been serving a six-year sentence for killing his wife’s lover. Although his parole is forthcoming, Pryor is desperate to see his nine-year old son, Thomas, who was injured in an automobile accident in Los Angeles, California. After dodging bloodhounds and helicopters in the deep swamp, Pryor hides on the back of a hay truck. Along the way to freedom, he overhears a radio report that he brutally stabbed a guard to death during the escape. When the truck stops in a small town that evening, Pryor breaks into a sporting goods store and steals a gun, ammunition, camouflage clothing and a knife. He leaves a note that includes a promise he will pay the store owner back and a message to the warden that he hit the prison guard, but did not kill him. Outside the store, Pryor surprises a police officer at gunpoint, handcuffs him to a post and steals his car. On the highway, Pryor abandons the police vehicle and kidnaps a young woman named Georgie Haskin, who is driving home from work. Concealed in the backseat with the gun aimed at Georgie, Pryor instructs her to drive toward the police roadblock and pretend everything is fine. Terrified, Georgie obeys, and they successfully cross into Arkansas. After a quick stop at a hamburger stand, Pryor tells Georgie to drive west toward McKinney, Texas. Meanwhile, Inspector Markley, a tracking specialist, is assigned by the Louisiana governor to lead the pursuit and decides to begin the search in Texas. The next day, Pryor realizes that the police are looking for Georgie’s car, and swaps her vehicle for one driven by J. J. Bester, an insurance agent who is accompanied by his mistress, Wanda Dulac. As Pryor and his three hostages travel west, the fugitive takes $200 from Bester’s wallet and writes another IOU note. At a pay phone, Pryor stops to call the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and speaks with a sympathetic nurse, Marian Lemoore, who tells him that Thomas is in critical condition and has not regained consciousness. Back on the road, Pryor discerns that Bester is untrustworthy, unlike Georgie, who has been loyal to the well-meaning fugitive. That night, Pryor orders Bester to check into a motel and leaves him and Wanda naked and stranded in their room. Pryor threatens to reveal their affair to everyone back home if they contact police. Meanwhile, Georgie, who is enjoying the adventure, continues west with Pryor. On a main street crowded with Christmas shoppers, Pryor waits in the car while Georgie buys him a change of clothing. As they drive out of town, she realizes that she forgot to purchase the flashlight he wanted and dashes into another store. When she returns to the car, Pryor has departed, but she finds a thank-you note and the remainder of the $200 he took from Bester. While hiding on a freight train headed west, Pryor befriends a stray beagle puppy. The train is forced to stop at a police checkpoint, and Pryor is seen running from the railroad track, but he avoids capture by seizing a rowboat from a nearby dock. As the puppy follows, Pryor has no choice but to take him along, and they cross the lake overnight. The next morning, Pryor is cornered on a bridge by two policemen. Dodging the gunfire, he makes a spontaneous leap into the river with the dog tucked in his jacket. Meanwhile, Inspector Markley is frustrated by the inept response of local law enforcement. In the evening, Pryor and the puppy recover from the freezing swim by a campfire and later, the fugitive “borrows” a horse from a farmhouse to navigate the rugged terrain into New Mexico. During that time, he names the puppy, “Nick,” in honor of the Christmas season. The media has become fascinated with the kind-hearted convict who leaves behind IOUs, and Pryor is relieved when he hears a radio broadcast that his son has regained consciousness. While passing through a rural neighborhood in the middle of the night, Pryor witnesses a house on fire and rescues a woman and her child. Later, he inquires about renting a plane from Stover Air Service, and the flight instructor, José Stover, happens to be the brother-in-law of the women whom Pryor saved from the fire. Stover gladly offers to fly him to Los Angeles and informs Pryor that the public is on his side. Arriving in the city on Christmas Eve, Pryor acquires a disguise that will help him sneak into his son’s room; he stops at a bar near the hospital to use the bathroom for changing clothes. However, Markley is waiting there and handcuffs him to a pipe by the sink. While the inspector steps away to make a phone call, Pryor escapes, using the handcuff key he took from the officer outside the sporting goods store. Markley is unable to catch Pryor, but fires a gunshot that wounds him in the leg. Dressed in a Santa Claus costume, Pryor staggers into the hospital later that night. Meanwhile, Markley waits near Thomas’s room. As Pryor reaches the ward, Markley receives a phone call informing him that another convict was responsible for killing the prison guard and to abandon the pursuit. Arriving at Thomas’s bedside, Pryor takes off his Santa disguise and presents his son with puppy “Nick” for Christmas. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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