Tag Archives: Charles Drake

Busses Roar (1942, D. Ross Lederman)

Busses Roar is a slight propaganda film. It doesn’t fully commit to any of its subplots, not even the patriotism. With the exception of the establishing the villainous Japanese, German and the gangster at the opening and the flag-waving speech at the end, it’s not too heavy on it.

Most of the film’s almost an hour runtime takes place in a bus terminal. The gangster (Rex Williams, who isn’t any good, but isn’t as bad as the film’s worst) has to take a bus to deliver a bomb to some oil fields. There’s the whole range of bus passengers to put in danger, but the actual bus in crisis sequence is hurried. Director Lederman does a lot better establishing all the characters.

Most of that action is Julie Bishop trying to get someone to buy her a ticket. Her character is the smartest part of George Bilson and Anthony Coldeway’s script, just because they can introduce so many supporting cast members through her storyline.

Ignoring its overtly bigoted elements, the film has some decent performances and moments. For example, the storyline with newlyweds Harry Lewis and Elisabeth Fraser isn’t bad at all.

The most hilariously awful performance is probably Peter Whitney as the German spy.

Richard Travis gets top-billing–and is Bishop’s eventual love interest–and he manages to be both weak as a leading man, but somewhat likable.

Unfortunately the big action finale is ineptly and cheaply executed; the bus depot scenes look perfectly good.

Roar it doesn’t. More like gurgle.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by D. Ross Lederman; screenplay by George Bilson and Anthony Coldeway, based on a story by Coldeway; director of photography, James Van Trees; edited by James Gibbon; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Richard Travis (Sergeant Ryan), Julie Bishop (Reba Richards), Charles Drake (Eddie Sloan), Eleanor Parker (Norma), Elisabeth Fraser (Betty), Richard Fraser (Dick Remick), Peter Whitney (Frederick Hoff), Frank Wilcox (Detective Quinn), Willie Best (Sunshine), Rex Williams (Jerry Silva), Harry Lewis (Danny), Bill Kennedy (The Moocher), George Meeker (Nick Stoddard), Vera Lewis (Mrs. Dipper), Harry C. Bradley (Henry Dipper), Lottie Williams (First Old Maid), Leah Baird (Second Old Maid) and Chester Gan (Yamanito).


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THIS FILM IS ALSO DISCUSSED IN SUM UP | ELEANOR PARKER, PART 1: DREAM FACTORY.

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It Came from Outer Space (1953, Jack Arnold)

I used to love this movie… I guess I should have checked movielens because it’s right on the nose for it.

It has Richard Carlson, who I like, and Barbara Rush, who I remember liking from The Young Philadelphians and Hombre, and it’s directed by Jack Arnold, who I like. Or do I remember liking them and am I misremembering? No, Creature from the Black Lagoon is good and Carlson is in it and Arnold directed it. It Came from Outer Space is not terrible (though I’m seemingly in a one and a half star rut the last couple weeks, starting with Azumi 2). It’s just not good. It’s too short (at eighty minutes) and it has problems with how time passes….

I think I’m upset. I’ve gotten used to watching films I used to like–used to love in some cases–and being underwhelmed or enraged at my former appraisal. It goes with watching something again and being more intelligent. Nostalgia only earns only so much credit. Nothing, for example, feels quite as good as something remembered as great turns out to be great again. People have actually frowned upon my whole “watching again” practice, from both ends–some people only watch something once and that evaluation stands and other people don’t change their initial evaluation. At six, you love Dracula so at twenty-six it’s got to be good. When I was six, I liked “Voltron” a lot. I’m not sure “Voltron” is good.

It Came from Outer Space isn’t dated, its relevance has not passed. It’s just not good. Arnold doesn’t use his sets right and he doesn’t take any time with the scenes. He rushes and it feels rushed. There’s a difference, of course, between short scenes and rushed scenes.

I rented this film and I can’t imagine if I bought it. That’s the great drawback of the evolving opinion. You buy something and it sits and you watch it and you think, “what the hell?” So I suppose there’s a benefit to not having disposable income. Still, I’m so glad it was only eighty minutes.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Jack Arnold; screenplay by Harry Essex, based on a story by Ray Bradbury; director of photography, Clifford Stine; edited by Paul Weatherwax; music by Irving Gertz and Henry Mancini; produced by William Alland; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Richard Carlson (John Putnam), Barbara Rush (Ellen Fields), Charles Drake (Sheriff Matt Warren), Joe Sawyer (Frank Daylon), Russell Johnson (George) and Kathleen Hughes (Jane).