Saturday, June 13, 2009

Public Transport at its best

Titles: The Runway Bus

We've been having a moan about the state of the public transport systems lately so let us consider The Runaway Bus. A paradoxical film as it doesn't include a runaway bus. At all. At no point in the proceedings does the bus run away. Indeed, it doesn't often reach brisk walking pace. It is so good to see verisimilitude on the silver screen.

Margaret Rutherford being reasonable

The film is written, produced and directed by Val Guest. I don't subscribe to the auteur doctrine, never have, never will. This is as close as I get: one of the great British directors doing a splendid job of giving us a light bit of fluff with which to while away the time. And jolly good, too. I expect Mrs. P. spent most of the production scrouging gaspers off John Horsley.

some aeroplanes in one of those fogs we don't get any more

The basic premise of the film is that passengers are stranded at London Airport (Heathrow) by one of those fogs we don't get any more. A daunting display of Margaret Rutherford, complete with combat umbrella, results in a small group being put onto Relief Bus 13, driven by Percy Lamb (Frankie Howerd in his first starring rĂ´le). They are to motor over to Blackbush Airport ("you can't miss it, it's just off the Southampton Road"), where the fog has lifted and planes can take off for Dublin.

our hero: Frankie Howerd

The business with Howerd trying to find his way about in the fog, aided only by a box of matches and a duff set of directions given over the 'phone in the security box is arguably the only piece of pure Frankie Howerd that ever made it to screen (cue boozy arguments about "Up Pompeii"). While we're there, give a wave of the hand to Sam Kydd.

Petula Clark looking winsome

What he and we don't know is that a bullion robbery at the airport has resulted in twenty thousand pounds' worth of gold bullion being hidden in the boot of the bus. Imagine our surprise to get a radio message from Inspector Henley (John Horsley looking impossiby young and craggy) telling him of his cargo.

Can our hero save the day and foil The Banker (the mysterious criminal mastermind) armed only with his wits and the winsome charms of Petula Clark in a flight attendant's uniform (sigh..)?

I'm not going to tell you.

the bus, a signpost accident and a confrontation


savannah said...

based on this review/teaser, i've added the movie to my netflix queue! thanks, sugar! xoxox

Scarlet-Blue said...

Was this remade as 'Speed'?
Christ.. now I have a craving to watch that Airport film - the one where Elizabeth Taylor is trying to leave her husband - Richard Burton... but all the flights are delayed cos of the fog... and there's something about a writer and his secretary. Damn it Kev... my whole day will be spent wanting to watch this film and really this has very little to do with your very good post!

Madame DeFarge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madame DeFarge said...

Oh, I can't type.

Anyway, never seen this, want to, love British films of a certain era, Margaret Rutherford fab.

That's what I said before, but without the typos.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Thanks all, yet again.

(Scarlet: you didn't watch 'Airport' again did you? It's more than the human soul can bear.)