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Five Came Back

(1939 b 75')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A plane with twelve people is caught in a storm and lands in the jungle; they interact for nearly a month, but not all can return.

At the airport Judson Ellis (Patric Knowles) and Alice Melbourne (Wendy Barrie) tip the cab driver not to mention them. Peggy Nolan (Lucille Ball) receives a flower she gives away. Pete (Allen Jenkins) takes Mike's son Tommy (Casey Johnson). Prisoner Vasquez (Joseph Calleia) pulls a gun but is recaptured and taken by Crimp (John Carradine) on the plane to Panama for a $5,000 reward. In the air Tommy and Pete pray as Tommy goes to sleep. Pilot Bill Brooks (Chester Morris) brusquely tells Peggy to go to bed. Co-pilot Joe (Kent Taylor) answers Allice's call. The plane lands in Mexico for fuel. Bill spurns Peggy again. Joe buys lunch for Alice and Judson, who tells a reporter they are getting married because they are in love.

They fly in a tropical storm. By radio Pete hears that gangster Mike was murdered, and Tommy cries. The door opens as two canisters slide out. The steward rescues Tommy but falls out. Bill lands the plane in the jungle at night. The next day botanist Henry Spengler (C. Aubrey Smith) says they are in a valley near the Amazon and can only fly out. Bill takes charge, and Vasquez gives him his gun. Bill lets Pete keep his rod. Radio reports their plane is not likely to be found. Pete shoots an animal for meat. At the campfire Judson is drunk and is sent to bed. Bill tells Peggy how his wife died.

They work on the plane and build huts. After eighteen days Vasquez is happy there, as are Henry and his wife Martha (Elisabeth Risdon). Crimp and Judson fight over Judson's bottle until Bill knocks out Crimp and takes the bottle. Joe consoles Alice for Judson's behavior. Crimp is missing. Bill tests the engines, and they work. As they clear a runway, Tommy follows a monkey. Pete and Peggy find Tommy, but Crimp was killed. Pete comes back and dies from a poison dart. Drums are heard. Bill and Joe make a repair, and Bill says that only four and Tommy can go. Vasquez takes the gun and will choose. Henry and Martha tell Vasquez they must not go. Wealthy Judson offers Vasquez a top lawyer. Bill starts the engines, and Vasquez says it is Bill, Tommy, Alice, Joe, and Peggy. Vasquez says Judson is not fit. Judson struggles, and Vasquez shoots him. The five get on the plane and take off, leaving Vasquez, Henry, and Martha. Henry says capture means torture and asks Vasquez to shoot Martha and him. Vasquez uses the last two bullets to do that, and natives close in as the plane flies off.

This classic survival elimination drama reflects the dangers of air travel. The intense experience reveals a rich alcoholic, a paternal gangster, a reformed criminal, a ruthless bounty hunter, an older couple in love, and positive transformations in the two pilots and two attractive women who survive.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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