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directed by Frank Woodruff
USA 1940

 

Fay Wray, best known for struggling in the clutches of King Kong, confronts rivals who use saboteur tactics to put the squeeze on the Federated Bus Lines she manages in Wildcat Bus. Wray is not the only woman in a position of power in this unusual B-movie: Behind the criminal organization that causes the breakdowns and accidents plaguing Federated’s Los Angeles San Francisco route is tough. vinegary “Ma” Talbot (character actress Leona Roberts). Familiar screen actor Paul Guilfoyle (White Heat) portrays one of the bus line's newly hired drivers. And sharp-eyed classics fans will delight in seeing Joe Sawyer (TV‘s The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin) as one of Ma Talbot’s heavies and uncredited Keye Luke (“Number One Son" in the Charlie Chan mysteries) and Minerva Urekal (TV's The Adventures of Tug Boat Annie) among the rogue company’s passengers.

***

Seven years after helping to rescue RKO Radio from bankruptcy as the heroine of King Kong, Fay Wray returned to the studio as star of the modest programmer Wildcat Bus. Wray is cast as Ted Dawson, whose father Charlie (Oscar O'Shea) runs a lucrative bus line. Before long, however, the Dawsons' livelihood is threatened by a wildcat bussing firm that isn't above sabotaging its competition. Charles Lang plays impoverished playboy Jerry Walters, who unwittingly goes to work for the crooked bus firm before switching allegiance to the Dawsons. The sight of the beauteous Fay Wray dressed as a garage mechanic is the principal redeeming factor of Wildcat Bus.

Poster

Theatrical Release: 23 August 1940 (USA)

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DVD Review: Warner Home Video (Warner Archive Collection) - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Gregory Meshman for the Review!

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Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:03:42
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital Mono (English)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� None

DVD Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Keep Case

Chapters 7

 

 

 

Comments

Wildcat Bus is a forgotten (and forgettable) crime thriller/romantic comedy starring post-King Kong Fay Wray and Charles Lang in his first starring role - he would follow it with a number of small roles and co-writing screenplays for Budd Boetticher (The Magnificent Matador, Decision at Sundown, Buchanan Rides Alone. Their co-star in this film, Paul Guilfoyle would direct another screenplay of Lang in 1960 for Fox, Tess of the Storm Country with Diane Baker in the title role.

Wildcat Bus is just a footnote in Fay Wray filmography when she came back to RKO for a couple of films after being contracted to Columbia Pictures - and she is the only reason to seek out this programmer. Charles Lang plays her love interest and a bankrupt ex-playboy forced to look for a job in Ms. Fay's bus company. Paul Guilfoyle is his limousine driver who gets the job of a bus driver and Mr. Lang is forced to look for a job elsewhere, finding it in a small outfit that is trying to run bus company out of business. Criminal activity, romantic sparks and many bus crashes ensues.

Warner Archives dug out this B-picture from its vaults with a new  transfer. There are still many marks and some damage, including one problematic scene between Fay Wray and Charles Lang shot against a projection screen (capture 5), but overall the progressive transfer is impressive if you consider the rarity of this film. The mono soundtrack is serviceable, with little damage and a few audible pops. Per usual, there are no subtitles on this made-on-demand disc and, unsurprisingly, a trailer for this film doesn't survive. Warner Archives should be commended for giving this rarity a quality release even if the film itself is lackluster.

  - Gregory Meshman

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

    

 

Distribution

Warner Home Video

Region 0 - NTSC


 

 




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