THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?

THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN (1968)










#44 on the movie countdown is a film that was a major flop in 1965 - Bus Riley's Back in Town. It was to have been based on a one-act play written by playwright and Oscar-winning screenwriter William Inge. Michael Parks, who was a James Dean-type in training here, plays Bus Riley, back in his hometown after three years in the Navy. Parks went on to be a pretty successful character actor (and a Tarantino favorite) but here he's kind of up and down here. There's a great cas...t around him - a very young Kim Darby (four years away from True Grit) as his kid sister; Janet Margolin as her friend (who becomes a brief and unexplained love interest for Bus); Jocelyn Brando (Marlon's older sister) as the mom of Bus and even Match Game panelist Brett Somers as a boarding house resident at the Riley household who can't stand being in the same house with Bus. These scenes (and more) are pretty good. But when we add Ann-Margret in as his former girlfriend Laurel (who got married when he left and regrets it terribly when he returns), this is where thr film gets in trouble. Legend has it that when Ann-Margret signed on for the part, the producers wanted to beef up her role. So someone (not Inge) wrote a bunch of scenes between Parks and A-M that has to do with them carrying on an affair. Margret is just sexy and pouty but no substance as Laurel, and their scenes seem to be from a completely different movie! They are especially jarring when they are between the scenes written by Inge (which are MUCH better than the added-on scenes). Inge hated the extra scenes so much he had his name taken off the credits - and I sure can't blame him! Bus Riley's Back in Town is worth a look for its eclectic cast but other than that, I would call this an interesting failure.

TLA one-word review: disjointed