Had I known that, I may not have even given the Warner Archive release a shot, but I was suckered in by its cover. Utilizing artwork from the film’s original 1956 release, it depicts a super-sexy, RTF visage of Anita Ekberg (Call Me Bwana, The Killer Nun) staring straight at the viewer. The tagline: “Ooh that Ekberg!” Being a heterosexual male into hourglass figures, this appeals to me.
Directed by John Farrow (Oscar winner for writing Around the World in Eighty Days and father of actress Mia), Back from Eternity follows a small group of strangers who board a plane and then attempt to stay alive after said plane crashes in a South American jungle. Among the passengers are:
• a guy who looks just like Dr. Phil;
• an engaged couple, the male half being in a near-insane hurry to get hitched;
• Rod Steiger with a beard;
• the aforementioned Ekberg, not registering as much screen time as you’d like, but looking great each second she does;
• an old coot who keeps a survival journal and his wife; and
• the Cutest Little Boy You Ever Did See and his uncle.
I couldn’t include that one brunette stewardess, since she gets sucked out the door in mid-air.
With pilot Robert Ryan (The Dirty Dozen, The Outfit) leading the charge to reassemble the engine, the third act reminds one of a slower Flight of the Phoenix, but with a monkey and one grimmer-than-grim ending. —Rod Lott