Five Came Back (1939)

74 mins | Drama | 23 June 1939

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HISTORY

In 1956, director John Farrow remade this film for RKO as Back from Eternity , starring Robert Ryan and Anita ... More Less

In 1956, director John Farrow remade this film for RKO as Back from Eternity , starring Robert Ryan and Anita Ekberg. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
7 Jun 39
p. 3.
Film Daily
12 Jun 39
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 39
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Apr 39
pp. 6-7.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 39
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 39
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Jun 39
p. 14.
Motion Picture Herald
10 Jun 39
p. 29.
New York Times
5 Jul 39
p. 20.
Variety
21 Jun 39
p. 16.
DETAILS
Release Date:
23 June 1939
Production Date:
30 March--late April 1939
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
23 June 1939
Copyright Number:
LP8956
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5284
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Los Angeles, nine passengers board the Silver Queen, a plane piloted by Bill Brooks bound for Panama City. Bill's human cargo consists of Crimp, a detective determined to return his prisoner, the anarchist Vasquez, to a South American capital to collect a $5,000 dollar reward; wealthy Judson Ellis, who is eloping with his secretary, Alice Melbourne; the elderly Professor Henry Spengler and his wife Martha; Tommy, a gang chief's small son; his chaperone Pete, a gunman; and Peggy Nolan, a woman of the streets. When a heavy storm forces the plane down in a dense jungle, the voyagers' true natures emerge as Bill and his co-pilot Joe labor to repair the craft. Under the twin threats of an impending attack by natives and the realization that the group may be permanently stranded, Crimp becomes a menacing bully and Ellis reveals himself to be a spoiled, cynical drunk, whereas Vasquez demonstrates the humanitarianism which drove him to anarchy. As the days wear on, Peggy becomes a substitute mother to little Tommy, thus winning Bill's respect, and Alice slowly realizes that she is in love with Joe. On the twenty-third day, the plane is repaired, but it can only carry five passengers. With the native drums threatening attack, Crimp and Pete disappear into the jungle and are slain by Indians. As the drums grow more ominous, Vasquez seizes the gun and proclaims that because the return to civilization means certain death to him, only he is objective enough to decide who will escape. Thus, the elderly professor and his wife, who are at the end of their lives, remain behind, as well as Ellis, who is ... +


In Los Angeles, nine passengers board the Silver Queen, a plane piloted by Bill Brooks bound for Panama City. Bill's human cargo consists of Crimp, a detective determined to return his prisoner, the anarchist Vasquez, to a South American capital to collect a $5,000 dollar reward; wealthy Judson Ellis, who is eloping with his secretary, Alice Melbourne; the elderly Professor Henry Spengler and his wife Martha; Tommy, a gang chief's small son; his chaperone Pete, a gunman; and Peggy Nolan, a woman of the streets. When a heavy storm forces the plane down in a dense jungle, the voyagers' true natures emerge as Bill and his co-pilot Joe labor to repair the craft. Under the twin threats of an impending attack by natives and the realization that the group may be permanently stranded, Crimp becomes a menacing bully and Ellis reveals himself to be a spoiled, cynical drunk, whereas Vasquez demonstrates the humanitarianism which drove him to anarchy. As the days wear on, Peggy becomes a substitute mother to little Tommy, thus winning Bill's respect, and Alice slowly realizes that she is in love with Joe. On the twenty-third day, the plane is repaired, but it can only carry five passengers. With the native drums threatening attack, Crimp and Pete disappear into the jungle and are slain by Indians. As the drums grow more ominous, Vasquez seizes the gun and proclaims that because the return to civilization means certain death to him, only he is objective enough to decide who will escape. Thus, the elderly professor and his wife, who are at the end of their lives, remain behind, as well as Ellis, who is shot as he grabs for the gun. As Vasquez, the professor and Martha gaze skyward, Tommy, Peggy, Bill, Alice and Joe ascend the skies to safety to begin new lives. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.