This unusual suspenser brought together several talents at budget-conscious RKO to become a surprise hit of 1939. It’s now available on demand from Warner Archive.
Five Came Back might be one of the original “high concept” movies, since the whole idea is spelled out in the title. Twelve diverse people, conceived as quickly sketched types, are in a small airplane that gets blown way off course and crashes in a lush jungle en route from Los Angeles to Panama City. Search planes fail to find them, and they must spend weeks repairing the plane and forming a community.