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A South American plane loaded with an assortment of characters crash lands in a remote jungle area in the middle of a storm. The passengers then discover they are in an area inhabited by vicious cannibals and must escape before they are found. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There were two problems with Back From Eternity which is not the fault of the people who actually made this film. RKO Studios was going out of business as Howard Hughes was busy folding it up. The film was released and then very quickly was on television as the entire RKO film library was. The second is unfortunately the film came out in the wake of The High and the Mighty. Most airplane pictures suffer in comparison to that one.
Not mind you that it could have been given better productions values. Color for the jungle scenes and maybe some location shooting instead of dusting off the same sets used for Five Came Back, for that matter for King Kong.
Remember RKO was owned by one of aviation's biggest boosters in Howard Hughes. Not that he couldn't have afforded some better productions values. But then again he was getting out of the film business at this time. Then again had he put some money into it, we also would have had more Hughes control and the results might have been interesting. Not necessarily good, but interesting.
That being said the cast does a fine job for director John Farrow. Like John Wayne in The High and the Mighty, Robert Ryan is fine as the able veteran airline pilot in charge of getting his passengers and crew back to safety after they've force landed in the South American jungle. Of course with the pulchritudinous Anita Ekberg on board and interested that's enough to give anyone a morale booster.
Rod Steiger plays the criminal on the way to his execution, a part done by Joseph Calleia in the original. Both are fine and are an interesting contrast in acting styles.
John Farrow added a few things here that were not in the original. One of the dumber things added was a chick fight between Phyllis Kirk and Anita Ekberg while they are stranded in the jungle. I mean was that really necessary John? Added nothing to the plot and kind of stupid when you come to think about it.
Still, chick fight and all, Back from Eternity is a good solid piece of entertainment that also asks some important questions about the quality of life collectively and the quality of how one spends his allotted time on earth.
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