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Thursday, May 29, 2014

'Wildcat Bus' DVD: Fay Wray Gets Caught in Another Celluloid Jam

Wildcat Bus
The 1940 Fay Wray noir film "Wildcat Bus" is another "where have you been all my life" movie from Warner Archive.

The 400-pound gorilla that Wray battles in this one is an illegal wildcat transportation service that utilizes dangerously nefarious means to attempt to have the permit that operating the bus line that Wray's Ted Dawson manages and that her father owns revoked. Doing so will allow said competitor to take over the service that the line provides.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of an early "Wildcat" scene does double duty in the forms of establishing the story and providing a good sense of the terrific spirit of the film.

This campaign against Federated Bus Lines coincides with the arrival of recently impoverished playboy Jerry Waters and his faithful former chauffer/manservant Donovan at the facility of that business. In a twist worthy of more serious fare, Donovan gets a job working for Federated and Waters unwittingly joins the ranks of the rogues who are after the Los Angeles to San Francisco route that Federated services.

The subterfuge, tough guy antics, and dangerous sabotage in "Wildcat" are equal to that in any other B+ noir flick; further, Wray and Waters portrayor Charles Lang have terrific Hepburn/Tracy style chemistry despite their repartee not reaching that classic level.

All of this gets off to a great start in the opening scene of "Wildcat" that involves a rude awakening for Waters; the creative folks who dream that up tie that development very nicely into the final scene, which has an uber-awesome subtle S&M quality.

The deplorable behavior of juvenile passengers and psychological warfare in "Wildcat" provide some of the more entertaining moments in this joyride of a film. Further, Wray and her female counterpart on the other side of the dispute do a great job showing that dames can be as tough as men.

The final destination regarding these thoughts is that there is never a dull minute in "Wildcat," the casting is very good, and the underlying motive for the campaign against Federated turns out to be so obvious that we dullards who miss it will kick ourselves for not catching on earlier.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Wildcat" is encouraged to email me. You also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.