The Wayward Bus (1957)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama

The Wayward Bus (1957) Poster

Three strangers, a stripper, an alcoholic wife and a travelling salesman embark on a life-changing journey. As the road presents challenges, each character faces his or her own shortcomings, not knowing where life will lead next.


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24 July 2015 | bkoganbing
| Grand Hotel on a bus
It took a decade for one of John Steinbeck's lesser known novels to be made into a film. As you can guess by the title it's a bus picture. But if you are expecting The Wayward Bus to be another It Happened One Night your expectations will be dashed.

It's more like a Grand Hotel on a cheap bus with many characters and many stories intertwining. The driver is Rick Jason and this is a special run that he has for between two small towns, kind of like the Hooterville Cannonball between Hooterville and Pixley. The Hooterville of the story is Rebel Corners where Jason's wife Joan Collins runs the diner and the bus stop and he drives the bus. It's a pretty dull and routine life. But this particular trip which Jason makes in very bad weather brings out the best and worst in him and his passengers.

The Wayward Bus is an unusual story in that there's no real main story line. It's a whole lot of little stories just woven together by John Steinbeck. Jason and Collins are the nominal leads, but coming in a strong second are Dan Dailey as a traveling salesman a revival of sorts from his part in I Can Get It For You Wholesale and Jayne Mansfield a stripper on her way to a job, but not particularly happy with the life she's leading. She gets hit on by all the men on the trip, but particularly Larry Keating who is traveling with his frigid wife Katherine Givney and their rebellious daughter Dolores Michaels. Then there's Will Wright whose greatest joy in life is to complain.

As a lot of Steinbeck's work The Wayward Bus is set in California which was his birthplace and the man was definitely a firm believer in writing about what you know. The Wayward Bus is not in a league with Of Mice And Men or The Grapes Of Wrath, but it's still a well told tale by John Steinbeck.

And you certainly can't pass up seeing two of the greatest sex symbols of the last century in Joan Collins and Jayne Mansfield together in the same film.

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