|Jayne Mansfield, Delores Michaels, Rick Jason|
THE WAYWARD BUS (1957). Director: Victor Vicas.
Johnny Chicoy (Rick Jason of This is My Love) drives his bus on a route across the border into San Juan while his wife, Alice (Joan Collins of Land of the Pharaohs), runs the truck stop diner where the passengers embark. Both are afraid that they are not truly loved by their spouse. As Johnny walks out in anger, he gets involved with some of the passengers, who include the dyspeptic Van Brunt (Will Wright); Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard (Larry Keating and Kathryn Givney); their daughter Mildred (Delores Michaels), who has a yen for Johnny; travelling salesman Ernest Horton (Dan Dailey); and erotic entertainer Camille Oaks (Jayne Mansfield), who dodges passes from both Horton and Pritchard but winds up falling for the former. Not only is there the question of whether or not the passengers' assorted issues can be resolved, but if they'll even survive the trip when very dangerous weather conditions threaten their very lives.
|Rick Jason and Joan Collins|
In addition to some very good acting, The Wayward Bus has other plusses, such as the widescreen cinematography by Charles G. Clarke and a fine, evocative and highly interesting musical score by Leigh Harline. There is also a splendid action sequence when the bus must travel over a very, very long and crumbling wooden bridge directly over rushing rapids -- this sequence is a nail-biter. The film was undoubtedly made just to take advantage of the publicity for the earlier Bus Stop, which starred Monroe, also featured bus trips and truck stops, and even had Robert Bray in the cast.
Verdict: Memorable "lost" film with some very good performances. ***.