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Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962)

In 1862, the British commission inventor Fergusson to claim uncharted land in West Africa for Britain by flying his giant hot air balloon there.



(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald O'Shay
Susan Gale
Sir Henry Vining
Makia (as Barbara Luna)
Sultan / Auctioneer
The Prime Minister
Sheik Ageiba
Slave Captain
Ben Astar ...


Professor Fergusson plans to make aviation history by making his way across Africa by balloon. He plans to claim uncharted territories in West Africa as proof of his inventions worth. Written by Dennis Kytasaari <djk@xnet.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It's High Adventure and a Skyful of Fun! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild violence and thematic elements | See all certifications »




Release Date:

22 August 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cinco semanas en globo  »

Box Office


$2,340,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)|



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Jules Verne wrote his novel first published his novel in 1863, he drew on two topics that were trending at the time - an interest in the dark secrets of Africa and the then current vogue for hot air ballooning. He would revisit these two topics to some degree nine years later in "Around the World in 80 Days". [There was no balloon in the novel of Around the World in Eighty Days, and the only part of Africa in the novel is Egypt with the Suez Canal] See more »


Although the teapot was clearly not in Sir Henry's possession when the Arabs captured them at the oasis, by the time they ended up in the prison it mysteriously appeared wrapped up in his jacket. See more »


Sir Henry Vining: [frisking Ahmed] What have you got there?
Ahmed: Nice medals, huh?
Sir Henry Vining: British campaign medals. Professor, look at these. China, India... Where did you steal these from?
Ahmed: What? I don't steal! I am an *honest* slave trader. Oh, yes, little things, they come my way once in a while...
See more »


Version of Cinci saptamîni în balon (1966) See more »


Five Weeks In A Balloon
Written by Urban Thielmann (uncredited) and Jodi Desmond
Sung by The Brothers Four
See more »

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User Reviews

various factors even it out
10 February 2007 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

No doubt we'll probably cringe a little at the portrayals of non-white people in "Five Weeks in a Balloon": the Arabs are slave traders and the Africans dance around in loin cloths and carry spears. Of course, Jules Verne wrote the novel, so we can't totally blame the movie for the portrayals. So if we can get past these depictions, it's a perfectly entertaining experience. The movie portrays English scientist Cedric Hardwicke inventing a balloon-powered dirigible and having to fly to West Africa to stop slave traders (as if the British weren't doing creepy things in their own colonies?). He brings along military man Richard Haydn, young Canadian guy Fabian, and accident-prone American reporter Red Buttons. Through numerous stops, they pick up freed slave Barbara Luna, slave trader Peter Lorre, American teacher Barbara Eden, and chimpanzee Chester.

The characters come across as a real mixture. Most of the cast members do a good job, but Fabian seems out of place, Red Buttons's role just seems silly, and Barbara Luna has little more than her looks (I've never read the novel, so I can't comment on possible changes). In almost any other movie, this combo would drag the whole thing down significantly, but not here; if anything, it makes the picture more entertaining. Even if there's a lot of continuity errors and such things, it's impossible not to have fun while watching "FWIAB". Also starring Herbert Marshall, Billy Gilbert, Henry Daniell and Mike Mazurki (Gilbert and Daniell previously co-starred in "The Great Dictator").

One more thing. Among the DVD's special features is footage from the movie's debut in Denver. One of the best things about this footage is that we get to see Barbara Eden in a shell dress! Such a sight, in my opinion, means that there is a God! Aside from her Jeannie outfit, a shell dress is the only thing that I can imagine Barbara Eden wearing. If these sorts of thoughts make me a pervert, then I'm proud to be one.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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