Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Comedy, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 22, 1962 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Silly but colorful, Five Weeks in a Balloon will probably be quite entertaining for very young viewers but will likely tax the patience of those above the age of 10 or 11. The Jules Verne novel that is its source is hardly a classic, but the screenplay derived from it is a decidedly slapdash affair. Given its source, it can hardly help but be episodic, but the writers have done a very poor job of providing the illusion that these episodes really add up to a greater whole. More damaging, they've provided intentionally overripe dialogue that wears out its welcome rather quickly. A better director than Irwin Allen might have been able to do something with the screenplay's tone, but all Allen does is play it for cheap laughs. The adventure sequences come off well, at least, and visually the film has a lot going for it. The cast tries hard, but Red Buttons is miscast, Fabian is embarrassing, and Cedric Hardwicke seems a bit tired. Barbara Eden is good, Peter Lorre entertaining and Barbara Luna attractive, at least. The title song is ridiculous, but it's catchy at least. As stated earlier, for kids this will provide a pleasant diversion, but adults will probably want to steer clear.