Five Came Back
Panama City-bound clipper Silver Queen has a full passenger load—and fans of fanciful Hollywood "B" adventures should climb aboard.
Five Came Back is pure escapist fun—a tightly wound survival yarn about a diverse cross-section of travelers who have crashed in a dense jungle wilderness. They're played by a gold-standard cast: scarlet woman Lucille Ball, hard-boiled pilot Chester Morris, fugitive socialites Patric Knowles and Wendy Barrie, professor C. Aubrey Smith, mob gunsel Allen Jenkins, extradited killer Joseph Calleia and police escort John Carradine.
What starts as a team-building idyll soon grows desperately dark as ominous tribal drums signal a fate worse than death if they can't repair their battered aircraft. Ball's role served as a showcase for better parts at RKO and elsewhere in the years ahead.
RKO and director John Farrow (The Big Clock, His Kind of Woman) would later remake this story (co-written by Dalton Trumbo and Nathanael West) with equal skill and starpower as Back from Eternity. You can't keep a sturdy vehicle down!