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Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962)

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:33 pm    Post subject: Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) Reply with quote



I saw this movie in 1962 at the East Point theater with my best friends, Jimmy Harmon — seen below while creating a clay monster for one of our joint stop-motion 8mm movies.





Neither of us were very impressed. Sad

The movie has a great cast and an interesting story, but . . . there are no monsters and very few special effects which impressed me at the time, so I felt cheated out of my 35¢ ticket price.



_______


It just wasn't the fun experience Jimmy and I had the previous year when we saw Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of Sea. Sad

But recently I watched my DVD of Voyage to the Bottom of Sea and enjoyed it so much I decided to give Five Weeks in a Balloon another chance.

Fortunately, YouTube has a pretty good copy of it.


_________ Five Weeks in a Balloon) - 1962 Trailer


___________



_____________FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON 1962


___________


Lo and behold, I discovered that this movie is much better than I thought it was!

The airship which appears in the movie is called the Jupiter, and apparently Irwin Allen liked that name so much that he named the spaceship in Lost in Space, the Jupiter 2.

We find out in the dramatic opening scene that the Jupiter has the unique ability to change its altitude without loosing the gas in the envelope or the ballast which is used to lightened the ship.

This is done by rapidly heating or cooling the gas by using a device inside the gondola that's controlled by the pilot (Fabian). Unlike hot air balloons, the envelope is inclosed, so none of the gas escapes like a normal hot air balloon.

Impressive! Cool






I was also impressed by a discussion between Red Buttons and Fabian shortly after the Jupiter lifts off on the five-week adventure. Fabian explains that to change the Jupiter's direction he simply increases or decreases their altitude to take advantage of wind currents which blow in different directions.

Fabian provides a wonderful explanation to Red Buttons about how the airship navigates.

“Normally the wind blows east to west, so we just hitch a ride. But we can change course if necessary. There are plenty of cross winds up there. We just go up, test different levels, and find a breeze blowing in the right direction!” Cool






Okay, sure, it's a bit of a simplification about the way wind currents at different altitudes work, but at least the story addresses the issue with a certain amount of logic. And for that, I'm grateful. Very Happy

Concerning the plot, the purpose of the journey is a noble one. The Prime Minister of England (Herbert Marshall) ask Cedric Hardwick to plant the British flag in a key area of Africa so that Britain can outlaw slavery in that region. But they have to beat a group of slave trades to a certain area and plant the flag before the slavers arrive and stake their own claim to the region.






Visually, the movie is a real treat. Soon after the trip begins, we see a beautiful montage of shots showing the Jupiter cruising over stunning landscapes. And during the montage, Fabian plays a concertina as he sings the appealing title theme.











I was amused by the fact that Fabian's singing was dubbed! It's widely known that the poor guy couldn't sing worth a damn . . . Rolling Eyes

Apparently the production actually did use a full-sized helium filled ballon, because in scenes like the one below we can see the balloon swaying gently in the breeze — something that wouldn’t happen if it was a prop supported by a crane off camera.






As amazing as it sounds, I think the balloon was also used in several remarkable scenes like the one at the 27-minute mark, which shows the Jupiter at the end of the first day of the trip, coming down gracefully over a beautiful forest and then landing.

The balloon seems to travel too far horizontally for it to be a prop supported by a crane.






More amazing still is the way the airship cruises along slowly just below treetop level while the passengers gaze down at the lush vegetation — and it's NOT a studio shot with a rear screen projection of the landscape!

The closeups from over the shoulders of the characters were shot from on board the Jupiter while it was actually cruising slowly along, looking for a place to land. The scene looks exactly like we're in an airship drifting above the landscape. Even if a crane was used, the effect is completely convincing.

The entire scene is full minute-and-a-half long. It's really beautifully done! Very Happy






It was all perfectly edited together, and the lovely music by Paul Sawtell enriched this dream-like scene. It was just like a ship coming into port, enhanced by the melodious train whistle that Fabian blew at key moments like this.

The whistle was very nice touch on the part of filmmakers. Very Happy

The scene that follows is downright picturesque. The Jupiter rests on a grass-covered area in the midst of a lush forest, and the crew is having dinner at an elegantly set table (complete with table clothe), while Fabian serves a sumptuous dinner to the three older men.








I know it's unrealistic for the explorers to have brought along so many luxury items, but its all very appealing. (One must observe the niceties of civilization, even while crossing Africa in a balloon. Cool

Barbara Luna unexpectedly joins the expedition at this point. She’s a lovely slave girl which Red Buttons rescued in an early comic chase scene through the market place in Zanzibar. She stowed away in the Jupiter's "crows nest" — a nice inclusion in the airship's design, enhancing it's nautical resemblance.






In the tradition of Journey to Center of the Earth — in which the expedition includes a duck named Gertrude — this story also acquires a mischievous chimpanzee. No explanation whatsoever is given for the chimp’s sudden addition, other than the fact that the location is Africa, and comical chimps were a dime-a-dozen on the Dark Continent in those days! Rolling Eyes

Just when we begin to think this movie might be a bit silly and boring, the plot livens up when, later that night, a thunderstorm interrupts the sleeping crewmen, and they make an emergency liftoff to ride out the storm rather than be torn to pieces on the ground.






The next day we see the Jupiter sailing along through a blue and tranquil sky, but Fabian informs Sir Cedric that a broken valve in the heating regulator needs repair, and they must land the airship.

Using his shiny brass telescope, Sir Cedric spots the African city of Hazack through the clouds ahead.








And so, our intrepid explorers dazzle the terrified Arab populace with a beautiful landing in the middle of the market place.




[img]https://i.imgur.com/VYfgUjh.jpg/img]


The city's comical Sultan and his superstitious subjects believe that Red Buttons is the Moon God come to Earth, along with his slaves (the rest of the crew). The sultan throws a big party for his celestial guests!

What follows it an elaborate scene on a big set, with dancing native warriors and plenty of loud drum music. However, Sir Cedric wisely determines that their ruse can't last much longer and they better make their escape soon.






But at that moment . . . Barbara Eden is dragged in! Shocked

Peter Lorre makes a dramatic entrance as the Sultan's nefarious slave trader, and his newest acquisition is Miss Eden. She's outraged by her predicament, and she pleads with the adventurers to help her.






The entire crew distinguishes themselves in a heroic joint effort to rescue Miss Eden and flee the royal palace, racing back to the Jupiter and lifting off with impressive speed — thus demonstrating the miraculous abilities of this steampunk lighter-than-air ship! Very Happy

Unbeknown to the crew, Peter Lorre climbs the dangling ladder during the emergency lift-off and tries to stab Sir Cedric. But he's quickly disarmed in the gondola and becomes an unwelcome member of the expedition.

Naturally, Mr. Lorre has some mighty funny moments in this great adventure. Smile








The expedition now includes seven people — a heavy load for an airship, especially with a luxurious gondola, packed with supplies and equipment.

However, this widely diverse group begin to work together as a team by the halfway point in the movie, and there’s plenty of exciting moments as they race to beat the slave traders — including a great “rooftop rescue” when part of the team is capture!










The climax involves a waterfall, a suspension bridge, an an aerial assault on the slave traders! This is one terrific movie.
_______________________________________________

Just for fun, I'll present an idea I had today that might solve the problem of how the airship lifts so much weight.

The Jupiter seems to be a hot air balloon, not a gas balloon that holds hydrogen or helium, since neither of those gases are ever mentioned. So, it appears to use heated air in an enclosed envelope to cause the balloon to rise — a hot air balloon, but with an enclosed envelope.

But wait a minute . . . wouldn't "heated hydrogen or helium" be even lighter than those gases normally are?

If so, suppose the Jupiter's enclosed envelope — which recirculates the same iar and changes its temperature very rapidly to raise and lower the airship — contained helium instead of normal air? If that were true, it would be even MORE efficient than if the envelope simply used either heated air or non-heated helium!

I looked it up. This would actually work! The only reason hot air balloons use regular air is because the balloons AREN'T "enclosed envelopes" like the Jupiter, so the helium would eventually spill out from the open bottom of a regular hot air balloon as it expanded from the heat.

However, the Jupiter's enclosed envelope would need to made of a material capable of expanding when the heated gas required more volume. Fortunately that works to its advantage, because as the envelope expands it would displace more of the air around it, which would give the Jupiter even more lift — allowing it to support additional weight in the gondola.






That's heartening, because all through the movie I kept thinking how much weight the fully-loaded gondola was carrying! Shocked

After figuring all this out on my own and patting myself on the back for being so brilliant, I later found out that Gutenberg.org has the full Jules Verne novel, and I discovered that all the brilliant ideas I described above . . . are part of Verne's novel!

Damn, I thought I’d come up with something new. Sad

In my defense, the movie itself doesn't say what kind of gas is in the balloon, so I thought it was just air. But I was surprised to read that Verne specifically says the balloon uses hydrogen — which we all know would be dangerous, especially since the mechanism on the Jupiter actually heats the gas, and this mechanism could easily ignite the highly flammable hydrogen.

Obviously helium would be safer. So, at least I added one improvement to Verne’s airship (an obvious one, but what the heck . . . )

Still, I had a lot of fun yesterday figuring out all that stuff on my own . . . Cool

After enjoying the YouTube version and having fun with my mental speculations of the concept (before finding out that I was reinventing the wheel), I gained so much respect for the movie that I bought the $10.78 Blu-ray from Amazon!


Five Weeks In A Balloon [Region Free] [Dual Format] [Blu-ray] [2017]

______________


Unfortunately, Amazon says, "Arriving Nov 2 - Nov 18", so I won't get to watch it for about a month. Sad

But trust me, folks — it's worth the wait. Very Happy

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Last edited by Bud Brewster on Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:13 pm; edited 6 times in total
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Pow
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also saw this on Youtube not long ago, Bud, and found it quite enjoyable with its jaunty musical score and likable cast.

I'm not sure why you placed this into the Sci~Fi Movies and Serials category since it is strictly an adventure film with no sci-fi elements in it.

I would think this belonged in the Movies in other Genres listing.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Mike, please reconsider your comment! Shocked

This is a movie based on a Jules Verne novel about a theoretical airship that uses "heated hydrogen" and an expandable "enclosed envelope" which allows the airship to raise and lower it's altitude without loosing its gas and without using any ballast!

In the full novel, available at Gutenberg.org, Jules Verne describes how the airship can soar to incredible heights using "heated hydrogen" and an expandable envelope to do what our unmanned high-altitude weather balloons do!

These balloons are forced to launch with air bags that hold a much smaller volume of gas than they'll have to contain when they reach higher altitudes that cause the gas they started out with to expand dramatically, because the surrounding air gets thinner and thinner!

So, an air bag which starts out like this —






— is greatly expanded when it reaches its full altitude!





Admittedly, this wonderful movie simplifies Verne's brilliant science fiction concept by eliminating the "expandable envelope" to allow the volume of the gas to increase. But we still don't have airships which use "heated hydrogen or helium" to increase the efficiency of an airship's buoyancy. Very Happy

The Jupiter is the only lighter-than-air ship — real or imagined — which can regulate its altitude as quickly as we see in this enjoyable sci-fi adventure.

Sir, I submit that Vernes' "heated hydrogen" airship with an "expandable envelope" is much more practical than my cherished "vacuum tank" Zeppelin, which relies on Edgar Rice Burroughs' fictional metal which is "stronger than steel but lighter than cork".

I hate to say it, but Verne's concept is clearly more practical for advanced airships! Cool

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I stand---even though I'm really sitting---corrected, sir.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Mike, I'm extremely grateful to you for being the only member of this board who replied to a post it took me several days to create. Sad

Frankly I was disappointed by the lack of interest shown in a thread I spent several days to create — composing the text, acquiring the screenshots, enhancing them with Paint.net, and putting the whole thing together.

I was certain I'd provided amply information for intelligent science fiction fans to comment on.

However, I was surprised when the only reply (after several days) was your own valid comment as to whether the movie presented enough "science" with the "fiction" to justify my thread being placed in Sci-Fi Movies and Serials from 1950 to 1969.

After all, this is a brand new thread on All Sci-Fi that's never existed since it's birth back in 2006!

It's about a popular movie released in 1962 by Irwin Allen, based on a Jules Verne novel which presents concepts that still haven't been used by modern science! Shocked

Surely, Mike, you and I aren't the only All Sci-Fi members who are enthusiastic about exciting ideas like this!

Just for the record, folks, All Sci-Fi can only survive if it's members contribute their own original opinions and imaginative thoughts to threads by me and our other members.

In short, folks . . . stop lurking and start sharing! Rolling Eyes

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Pow
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amen, Bud, amen.

You have created a fun and interesting site here which covers a variety of nifty topics including non~sci-fi themes.

So that gives everyone a huge range of things to respond to that are posted here.

Or they can post their own stuff.

I also like that there is plenty of latitude regarding input on All Sci~Fi too, Bud.

That isn't always the case with other sites.

I'll give you some examples.

I was once on a site for the Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde films and TV specials.

I posted a scene from the classic film "Inherit the Wind" starring Spencer Tracy & Fredric March. They were facing each other as their characters in that movie.

I sent it to the Jekyll/Hyde site and, respectfully, captioned it "Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

I was referring to the fact that both March & Tracy portrayed the same characters in different motion pictures.

Ya know, here's a fun fact.

The site kicked me off for doing that.

I was stunned they were so ridiculous and petty.

Another site I was a member of was one about the actor Burt Lancaster.

I sent a picture of the beautiful & talented actress Jean Peters to the site on her birthday.

Peters was the co~star of Lancaster in the western movie "Apache."

The response from that site was to stop posting such items.

I wrote back that I only posted her photo because she was in a film with Burt and had a substantial role in the film.

Hardly unrelated to Burt. What the hell, did he make all those films by himself with no other actors alongside him?

I did not give that site any more chances, I quit them.

I am always respectful of any site's rules and regulations.
After all, it's their site and they created it.

But when I get these absurd, hissy fit blow backs after posting something perfectly reasonable, I have to kiss them goodbye due to their immature and unreasonable responses.

Here, at All~Sci Fi, you allow everyone to have a different opinion and they can hash out any disagreements within a certain civility. I appreciate it because other sites do not engage in such activity and demonstrate zero understanding.

In the end, Bud, All Sci~Fi deserves far better interest and participation because of its variety & democracy.

I am just as disappointed at such lackluster interest here and can't account for it because this is a fantastic place.
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Gord Green
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud, I've thoroughly enjoyed your discussion and am thrilled by the photos...but...I haven't seen the movie yet. Thanks to your supply of the youtube copy I will soon correct that. Until then I have little to contribute.....yet.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
In the end, Bud, All Sci~Fi deserves far better interest and participation because of its variety & democracy.

I am just as disappointed at such lackluster interest here and can't account for it because this is a fantastic place.

Thanks for the kind words, Mike!

I should point out that I didn't mean to suggest there wasn't much interest in ASF, I was just hoping to encourage more input from the members! Very Happy

On any given day we always have between 30 and 100 "guests", according to the info at the bottom of the main index.

Occasionally the number of guests is well over 100! On the day I made the screenshot below we had almost as many guests as our total number of registered users! Shocked






So, even though many of our 140+ members tend to be a bit shy about adding their own unique comments, we seem to have a large "silent audience" who drop in daily to enjoy posts by loyal folks like you, Gord Gord, Scotpens, Krel, Trekriffic, Maurice, Johnnybear, The Spike, Bob Tarmac, and filmdetective.

And as Gord demonstrated so well, a member doesn't have know a thing about the subject itself, he can just compliment the member for providing an interesting post! That's something which everybody appreciates hearing! Cool

As for the dreaded sin of "hijacking a thread", Orzel-W has politely pointed out that I do that shamelessly, and I explained that to me a thread is like a spirited conversation at a party.

Nobody complains just because one comment inspires another party guest to comment on something only slightly related, and that comment sparks an even less related remark, etc. etc.

I maintain that the conversation always comes back to the main topic, and the tangents are interesting, too! Very Happy

Here's what I mean. Imagine a group of tipsy party guests, chatting in a corner.

Bud: I like baseball, but sometimes it's a bit slow compared to football.

Pow: I know what you mean. Baseball needs cheerleaders! Wink

Gord: Hey, why not add half-time shows, like the Super Bowl?

Bud: There ya go! Instead of a 7th inning stretch, get Lady Gaga out there on the pitcher's mound singing "I Was Born This Way"!

Krel: Hey, did you guys see the Dancing With the Stars episode that used that song? Sexy as hell! Shocked

Bud: Yes! Wow! Has Barbara Eden ever been on Dancing with the Stars? She was great in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and that other movie . . . what was it? Five Weeks in a Whatchama-callit? Confused


_____________________I Was Born This Way


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Krel
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
Krel: Hey, did you guys see the Dancing With the Stars episode that used that song? Sexy as hell! Shocked

I don't watch "Dancing With the Stars", but I wish i had seen that one.

I don't comment on a lot of things, because I have not seen them, and I don't feel qualified to comment on them.

I haven't seen 5WIAB since I was a preteen, maybe in the 60s. I remember liking the movie and it's theme song, but the no real details after 50 years.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
I don't watch "Dancing With the Stars", but I wish i had seen that one.

Is that the most amazing song and dance routine EVER or what? Shocked

And one of the dancers was a middle-aged Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid, dancing with his insanely sexy partner and looking cool as hell!

I watch that video periodically and weep manly "happy tears" of joy while goose bumps cover my arms. It is AMAZING!
Cool

Krel wrote:
I don't comment on a lot of things, because I have not seen them, and I don't feel qualified to comment on them.

David, what do you think you need to "qualify" to comment on something? All you need are opinions, and everybody has plenty of those. Confused

You can say something about the fact that the concept doesn't appeal to you, or the director sucks, or "I don't know jack shit about this movie! Should I watch it or not?" Confused

Everybody is "qualified" to ask questions! All that requires is ignorance! You admit that you DON'T know something, so you ask somebody to help you be better informed.

David, you're a valued member of a message board started 14 years ago bv a guy who has religiously maintained it at great expense, just because he desperately wants an online platform to present his own opinions — and to hear everybody else's!

Do you think the members of this board only present their opinions when they feel qualified in the eyes of other people to present them?

No sir. We have just as much right to express our own opinions (right or wrong) on any subject we choose!

So, for God's sake, stop holding back your opinions because you think you aren't "qualified"!
Rolling Eyes

Krel wrote:
I haven't seen 5WIAB since I was a preteen, maybe in the 60s. I remember liking the movie and it's theme song, but the no real details after 50 years.

Okay, I'm stumped. Shocked

What does 5WIAB mean? I know I'm going to feel really stupid when you tell me . . . but I'm not too proud to ask.
Sad
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Krel
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, so much for trying to be clever Laughing. 5WIAB = Five Weeks in a Balloon.

David.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krel wrote:
Well, so much for trying to be clever Laughing. 5WIAB = Five Weeks in a Balloon...

Damn, I knew I'd feel stupid when you told me. Embarassed

After starring at the computer for hours, my eyes get tire, so that 5 looked like an S! I'm not just stupid, I'm blind, too!
Shocked
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