The Wayward Bus

PLOT:

This drama was adapted from a novel by John Steinbeck and chronicles a fateful bus ride. Much of the tale centers around the interactions between the passengers and the driver as he attempts to safely navigate the bus through a series of potentially dangerous storms.

What people are saying:

“Rather good adaptation of the Steinbeck novel although Victor Vicas’ direction is somehow nondescript, but the film is worth seeing for its cast. Jayne Mansfield was a good actress and she shows it in this unglamourous role.” 4 stars

A motley group of passengers travel in a rundown bus from a small bus stop town called Rebel Corners to San Juan De La Cruz, another small town but with a mission that attracts tourists. The journey proves quite intense, both physically (landslides, floods) and emotionally (romance and conflict). Based on a lesser John Steinbeck novel, the film plays out like one of those 1970s disaster films: a group of disparate characters are thrown together as fate toys with them and by the end of the journey, they’ve all learned a lesson. The execution is rather trite and, as written, the script doesn’t deal a fair hand to its cast. The 23 year old Joan Collins looking quite lovely is hopelessly miscast. Clearly, the role was written for an older woman (probably late 30s) whose looks are fading and has turned to booze. The part cries out for a Jan Sterling or Ann Sothern. Jayne Mansfield as a stripper involved in a tabloid scandal surprisingly gives the film’s best performance. The film could have used more grit instead of polish.” 3 stars

“You would expect a total bitchfest with a movie starring both legendary bombshell Jayne Mansfield and soap opera diva Joan Collins….but what you get is a fascinating film based on the John Steinbeck novel of a bus driver and his passengers and their adventures as they get detoured and sidetracked…both on the bus and in life. Joan Collins is the wife of driver Rick Jason (so gorgeous). It’s a small and run down little bus that makes side trips. Joan Collins is the owner of a little restaurant who likes the bottle a bit too much. Unhappy with what has become of her life, she decides to “surprise” husband Jason mid-way through his bus trip. Jayne Mansfield is the shamed burlesque dancer on the way to a heavy paying gig in San Juan and gets caught up in the flirtation by a traveling salesman, played by Dan Dailey. Delores Pritchard gives a great performance as the “fast” daughter traveling with her parents on this trip” 5 stars

“This is not a terrible movie, but I would not recommend it if you’re looking for a classic Steinbeck story. The book was a fascinated nuanced look into how people perceive themselves and others, often wrongly. A big part of the book was exploring the thoughts of the various characters as they are judging each other silently (or openly!). All of this in a story of a crowd of completely different people stuck on a bus. Making a movie of the book must have been a hard task, and it seems like they opted to go for streamlined versions of the characters, focusing on the melodramatic aspects of the book. However, without the thought of the characters explaining the motivations behind their actions, the movie ends up being about Thing Happening. Because there’s such an ensemble of characters involved, you only briefly get to know each character. I know I’m judging this movie a bit harshly, and it’s unfair to hold the movie up against the book – after all, the book is (almost) always better. But when the movie misses the point of the book and only keeps the uppermost layer of it, it’s doing itself (and the book) a great injustice.” 3 stars

“Well done! This is 1957 black & white movie and it has everything! Thrill, comedy, romance, danger, action, sad, shock and surprise!” 5 stars

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