The Wayward Bus (film)

The Wayward Bus

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Victor Vicas
Produced by Charles Brackett
Written by Ivan Moffat
Screenplay by Ivan Moffat
Based on The Wayward Bus
by John Steinbeck
Starring Jayne Mansfield
Joan Collins
Dan Dailey
Rick Jason
Music by Leigh Harline
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Edited by Louis R. Loeffler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • May 27, 1957 (1957-05-27) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,465,000[1]
Box office $1,750,000 (US rentals)[2]

The Wayward Bus is a 1957 drama film released by 20th Century Fox that starred Jayne Mansfield, Joan Collins, Dan Dailey and Rick Jason. The film was based on the 1947 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck.


Alice Chicoy (Collins) is the wife of driver Johnny (Jason). He owns a small and rundown little bus that makes side trips. Alice is the owner of a little restaurant and likes liquor a bit too much.

Unhappy with what has become of her life, she decides to "surprise" her husband mid-way through his bus trip. Among the passengers, Camille Oakes (Mansfield) is a shamed burlesque dancer on the way to a well-paying job in San Juan. Camille gets caught up in a flirtation with traveling salesman Ernest Horton (Dailey).

Most of the story takes place on the charter bus. Slowly making their way through a treacherous California mountain region, the passengers undergo a variety of life-altering experiences. The journey has its most profound effects upon the iconoclastic salesman and the lonely stripper.



Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney were the original stars. Henry Hathaway was meant to direct.[3]

Mansfield was signed to the film because Fox was eager to capitalize on its new star. She had just made it big with The Girl Can't Help It. Fox was also waiting for the film script of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, Mansfield's Broadway hit that ran from October 1955 to May 1956 and starred Mansfield as Rita Marlowe and featuring Orson Bean. Waiting for Rock Hunter to be available for filming, Fox kept Mansfield busy. Wayward Bus was made shortly after Girl Can't Help It to keep Mansfield's name in the public's eye. In The Wayward Bus, however, Mansfield would play Camille Oakes seriously, rather than as the light-headed Jerri Jordan of The Girl Can't Help It.

Joanne Woodward was intended to play "Mildred Pritchard", but Woodward dropped out to star in The Three Faces of Eve, and the role went to Dolores Michaels, her first acting role.[4]


The film received disappointing reviews.[5] Fox had hoped to repeat the success of 1956's Bus Stop (starring Marilyn Monroe) film adaptation, but instead ended up crafting the Steinbeck novel into what one commentator called "the kind of lowbrow schlock the novel had satirized".[6]

United Press International said in a review of the film that Michaels' "torrid" scene, a seduction scene in a hayloft where she makes a pass at the bus driver (Rick Jason), "manages to steal the sexiest scene in the picture," over better known actresses Jayne Mansfield and Joan Collins and said Hollywood had not had a scene like it since Jane Russell in The Outlaw. Director Victor Vicas shot two versions, an "A" scene and a "B" scene because of the censors.[7]

Award nominations

The Wayward Bus was one of 33 films nominated for the Golden Berlin Bear Award at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival, but lost to Sidney Lumet's 12 Angry Men.[8]

Home media

The film was released on Blu-ray in June 2012 by Twilight Time under license from 20th Century Fox.

See also


  1. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p251
  2. Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p227
  3. FOX NAMES STARS OF 'WAYWARD BUS': Widmark and Gene Tierney to Act in Movie Version of John Steinbeck Novel Welles to Co-Star By THOMAS M. PRYOR Special to The New York Times.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 04 Oct 1956: 29.
  4. Elliott, Harry (April 15, 1959), "Sparky Of Hollywood Breaks Ice At Visit", Lawrence Journal-World, pp. 1, 2
  5. Railsback, Brian E.; Michael J. Meyer (2006). A John Steinbeck Encyclopedia. p. 422. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  6. John Steinbeck (2006). Gary Scharnhorst, ed. The Wayward Bus(Introduction). Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  7. "Young Actress Scores In Torrid Film Scene", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, United Press International, March 22, 1957
  8. "Berlin International Film Festival, Awards for 1957(Golden Berlin Bear)". Retrieved September 3, 2011.
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