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The Wayward Bus

The Wayward Bus(1957)

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  • Bus of Fools?

    • DougieB
    • 12/8/12

    I spent a lot of years wanting to see this before I got the chance. It's one of those movies that has enough real credentials to make it onto "most wanted" lists, but the movie, like the title vehicle, stalls somewhere in the middle. The movie really wants to be earthy and "adult", but ends up being kind of squalid. It's all the same cliches we always get with these characters-thrown-together-in-trying-circumstances movies., though usually it's on a boat or an airplane. Jayne Mansfield is a stripper down on her luck (20th never figured out what to do with her and it's a shame.), yet she managed to look camera-ready and perfectly coiffed throughout the long, hot, dusty bus ride. So much for gritty realism. It was apparently originally envisioned as a prestige project, but this version doesn't come very close. I've never read the Steinbeck original, so I'm not really sure who's to blame for the been-there-done-that feel. The bus may be wayward, but it covers very familiar ground.

  • The Love Boat on wheels.

    • DougieB
    • 12/8/12

    I haven't read the Steinbeck source material so I should probably refrain from being too snarky, but this kind of story has been done so many times since that all it seems very familiar. Whether on a boat, an airplane or a bus, you can pretty much map it all out in advance. A huge selling point is the fact that Jayne Mansfield and Joan Collins are both on board (not literally, in Joan's case. She's the bored, stay-at-home wife.), so you can catch these two near the beginning of their careers and Dan Dailey near the end of his. It's supposed to be a gritty slice-of-life, but Hollywoodized so that Jayne's perfect platinum coiffure remains intact throughout a long, hot, dusty bus ride. Right. It also yearns to be a little bit salacious and earthy, but Italian neo-realist it ain't. The damn bus is stalled by bad weather, this being a metaphor for these characters' stalled lives, and everyone is forced to confront the various truths about themselves, all according to the accepted formula for this kind of film. The rarity of this film made it attractive to me and I'm glad I finally saw it after years of wanting to, but that doesn't make it any less of a so-so attempt at "meaningful" drama.

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