Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Bus Riley's Back In Town

Let's dust off a "Guilty Pleasure" and have another look at the late Michael Parks (RIP label) debut in 1965 ... its deliriously entertaining and was a great suporting feature then. Here is what I wrote a few years ago:

We are in familiar territory as BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN begins in 1965: a greyhound bus pulls in and a marine in white gets out and looks around his old town - its Bus Riley back after 3 years in the navy and trying to settle back into small town life and look for a suitable job.
It is familiar William Inge territory but this is William Inge-lite without all the heavy drama of PICNICALL FALL DOWNSPLENDOUR IN THE GRASSTHE STRIPPER etc - Bus (Michael Parks) is a good-natured chap who does not think too deeply about things and is soon happy back with lovable mother (Jocelyn Brando), adoring younger sister (Kim Darby), sniping older sister (Mimsy Farmer) and local girl Janet Margolin who has to move in with them and who is so obviously the girl for Bus. There is also a very William Inge spinster teacher who gets the vapours at the sight of Bus in his underwear and comes down with a migraine at the thought of a man in the house, so she soon departs.
There is also that mortician acquaintance who can fix Bus up with a job - but, as he places his hand on Bus's knee and thigh, tells Bus how lonely he is and wants Bus to move in with him and his mother (Hitchcock's BIRDS expert and BILLY LIAR's grandmother) Ethel Griffies. Bus sighs wearily and instead settles for being a door to door salesman and is soon a hit with those lonely housewives (cue Alice Pearce as a rather dotty one). Then there is Laurel - Ann-Margret of course top-billed here and the posters are all about her, as Bus's old girlfriend who has married money while he was away and drives around town in her swish car looking for him. He resists her at first but she soon has him in her pool as her husband is away a lot and she wants Bus back big time.

Its a pleasant time waster catching the mid-'60s in transition and a rather nice view of small town American life. Laurel gets her just deserts as Bus realises she would never have married him as he was not rich enough and once he is told what a great car mechanic he was by a satisfied client his destiny beckons. Nicely directed by Harvey Hart it is one of Michael Park's better outings; like Christopher Jones he was tagged with the 'new James Dean' label but the mannerisms are kept in check here - he went on to be the naked Adam in Huston's BIBLE in '66 and 67's THE HAPPENING with a young Faye Dunaway, who was obviously going places too...
Parks was later terrific and suitably scuzzy in Tarantino's KILL BILL epics. 

1 comment:

  1. Michael- So happy that you referenced William Inge, given that he wrote "Bus Riley's Back in Town," albeit under the name Walter Gage.