Let your spirits soar with this lighter-than-air adaptation of Jules Verne's classic tale. A ragtag crew of such unlikely associates as Fabian and Sir Cedric Hardwicke races across uncharted African territory in a unicorn-... more »shaped balloon. Accompanied by Red Buttons as a playboy American reporter, the explorers are sidetracked, snared and drawn into battle with slaves, sneezing sultans, and sandstorms. Along the way, they meet up with a beautiful missionary (Barbara Eden). And an equally lovely slave girl (Barbara Luna) whom Fabian takes under his wing. With its excellent cast and breathtaking backdrops, Five Weeks In A Balloon is a buoyant blend of romance, adventure and laughter that adds up to grand family entertainment.« less
"I love this movie. Not only is it exciting and adventurous, it also has a rather catchy theme song. This movie also has an allstar cast (well, at least they were big stars in 1962). The characters are perfect: from the always calm and collected Professor with a dry sense of humor to the pompous general whose last request before his execution is some hot water to fill his prize teapot. I recommend this to anyone looking for a fun adventure movie."
MadMacs | Honolulu, HI United States | 03/19/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While I applaud the studio for releasing this wonderful Irwin Allen film from the fate of dark obscurity too many films from the golden age suffer, they should strive for the best rendition possible. In this case Five Weeks In A Balloon was filmed in CinemaScope - widescreen. This pan-n-scan dvd does not do this great flick justice."
Star-studded adventure romp!
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 05/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"One of the better star-studded adventure movies helmed by producer/director Irwin Allen, FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON (based on the Jules Verne novel) is ideal entertainment for the whole family.
When a party of explorers (led by Cedric Hardwicke, Red Buttons, Richard Haydn and Fabian) set out for uncharted African territory in an elaborate hot-air balloon device, their journey instead takes them on a rollicking rollercoaster of danger, thrills and romance all the way from London to Timbuktu! Barbara Eden co-stars as the lovely schoolteacher the group saves from an Arabian slavetrader; with fine support from Peter Lorre and Barbara Luna.
FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON, filmed in deluxe colour and CinemasScope, was a big ratings winner for 1962. The performances all-round are very pleasing, especially Richard Haydn as the dithering old Colonel, and Barbara Eden provides the requisite love interest (she'd previously worked with Irwin Allen in 1961's "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"). The very catchy theme song, composed by Jodi Desmond, is sung over the main titles by The Brothers Four, later reprised in the movie by Fabian.
Ideal lazy Saturday afternoon fare."
A Charming Tale of Adventure
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 04/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing Five Weeks in a Balloon when the film was released and I was about 10 years old. Over the years I have remembered the title song so when I discovered that the film was available on DVD I got a copy.
Obviously, this is a very free adaptation of Jules Verne's novel. The story centers around the marvelous balloon invented by Fergusson) played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke) that comes to be used in a race to beat a group of slavers to establishing a base of operations in West Africa. All Fergusson has to do is plant the British flag to stop them. The crew consists of Fabian (who pilots the balloon), Red Buttons (as a playboy/reporter who is taken along as a witness and to get a story) and Richard Haydn (who dryly plays a British general who is an African expert). Along the journey, they pick up a beautiful slave girl (Barbara Luna), a very intelligent chimpanzee, a missionary about to be sold into slavery (Barbara Eden) and an unscrupulous slave dealer (Peter Lorre). In the smaller roles are some outstanding English actors. Herbert Marshall has a scene as the Prime Minister, Reginald Owen plays a Consul and Henry Daniell, always a villain, plays a Sheik who captures most of the crew allowing Red Button's to rescue everyone.
The adventures of the crew are more comic than dangerous and one is convinced there never is any serious trouble that Fergusson and company cannot get out of. Even Peter Lorre's character, who has the potential for double-dealing, helps to save the day in the end. Five Weeks in a Balloon is perfect for children with a nice mix of adventure and comedy that will hold their interest. Adults may find the story a little too unbelievable, bordering on the silly. After so many years, I found the movie interesting for the performances and funny in many places but, also, at times stretching the comic a bit too thin: the music is still memorable. Still, it is a charming film that is worth a look. "
D. A Wend | 12/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent movie! Overall I would rate it: Theme Song-5 Stars Characters-5 Stars Plot-5 Stars Humor-5 Stars
I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys old movies!"