Five Came Back (1939) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • Twelve people are aboard Coast Air Line's flagship the Silver Queen enroute to South America when the airplane encounters a storm and is blown off course. Crashing into jungles known to be inhabited by head hunters, pilots Bill and Joe race against time to fix the engines and attempt a take off. The situation brings out the best and worst in the stranded dozen as they create a makeshift runway and prepare to escape before the natives attack. But damage to the plane and low fuel reserves means that only 5 people can be carried to safety. Do both Bill and Joe make the flight out? And what about the rest: Peggy, a woman with a slightly tarnished past; Pete, a racketeer who is escorting his boss's young son Tommy; Alice and Judson, eloping lovers who seem to have less in common as their plight changes one of them in the other's eyes; Crimp, who is bringing criminal Vasquez to justice; Prof. and Mrs. Spengler, an elderly couple whom become closer due to their predicament; and finally, is flight attendant Larry among the five? And who decides who lives and dies?

    - Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>
  • A small disparate group of people are aboard a multi-day, multi-stop flight from Los Angeles to Panama City. Beyond the crew of pilot, Bill, a loner, his co-pilot Joe Brooks who is always looking for love, and Larry the flight steward, the passengers are: spoiled and rich Judson Ellis and his innocent fiancée Alice Melhorne, who are posing as a businessman and his secretary but who are really secretly running away to elope in Panama City because both sets of parents disapprove of the union; elderly Martha Spengler and her henpecked husband, botany Professor Henry Spengler; pre-schooler Tommy Mulvaney, the son of mobster Mike Mulvaney, and one of Mike's toughs, Pete, who is looking after Tommy for Mike, with Mike joining them in Panana City on a later flight in a couple of days; Peggy Nolan, who most of the other passengers believe to be a trollop as a young woman traveling alone, her history with men about which they are correct; and private detective Crimp who is transporting Vasquez to Panana City so that he can collect the $5,000 reward for the delivery of Vasquez, who committed a political murder and thus will be executed by hanging. On the second leg of the flight, the plane is thrown far off course in a tropical storm, and combined with mechanical difficulties, they are forced to crash land. They don't know exactly where they are but figure they are somewhere in the headwaters of the Amazon, where search crews would not be looking for them. Those that live through the crash have to band together for their survival, they needing to figure out if the natural order of their civilized lives applies in who will do what, most specifically who will make the important decisions. The plane may be repairable, but as time progresses and they learn of certain hazards in the area, they will have to make some difficult decisions in this matter, and in matters that may affect life or will affect certain death.

    - Written by Huggo
  • After their airplane crashes in the South American jungle, the passengers and crew must survive until the repairs can be made. Apart from the two pilots there is an elderly couple, a gangster traveling with a young boy, a bounty hunter/detective returning with a criminal, a young couple who are eloping and an attractive young woman with a mysterious air about her. As the days and weeks go by, the airplane is successfully repaired but because of a short takeoff area, can only accommodate five passengers. All the while, they are threatened by the local native population.

    - Written by garykmcd


The film opens as Alice Melbourne and Judson Ellis arrive at a California Municipal Airport by taxi...

See full synopsis » (Warning: contains spoilers!)

See also

Taglines | Synopsis | Plot Keywords | Parents Guide

Contribute to This Page