DOC’S JOURNEY INTO HAMMER FILMS #114: MUTINY ON THE BUSES [1972]

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Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , , ,

 

UK

AVAILABLE ON DVD

RUNNING TIME: 85 mins

REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera, Official HCF Critic

 

Stan gets engaged to clippie Suzy but is struggling to make ends meet, especially when his brother Arthur loses his job. Then a new manager by the name of Mr. Jenkins is installed into the depot. He seeks to make the buses profitable and has intentions to make reforms at the depot to ensure its staff work harder, much to the dislike of Stan and Jack who enjoy their current layabout lifestyle – plus Stan is training Arthur to be a bus driver on the side. A worker rebellion is inevitable….

A double bill of comedy now before we get back to horror, and I should probably be ashamed of the fact that I enjoyed Hammer’s On The Buses movie and was looking forward to watching the second of the three films they made based on the TV series. I suppose comedy, more than anything else, is a matter of taste, though I do honestly feel that it’s a shame that the type of humour in things like On The Buses, and indeed the Carry On films, is a thing of the past. PC types consider it sexist and crude, yet are fine with the often gross stuff that happens in films from the likes of Seth Rogen and Paul Feig. It’s a funny old world. In any case, Mutiny On The Buses got me chuckling even more often than its predecessor, and, while you still get things like Blakey accused of being a homosexual and Stan stringing Suzy along with the promise of marriage in order to get sex, to me the sexism and employment of attitudes now considered dated seemed to be toned down somewhat. While the story is little more than an excuse for sequences of slapstick and sexual innuendo, the pace is fast with not a minute going by without a laugh [well, as long as you’re on board with the kind of comedy offered], and most of the performers do their job well, even though Reg Varney is probably far too old for his part. Stephen Lewis’s goofy Blakey is a fine comic creation, and the irritating Jack, played by Bob Grant, is mainly reduced to just laughing hysterically at whatever whatever mishap befalls somebody.

We’re asked to be firmly on the side of totally unprofessional bus drivers who like to do things like throw darts at a dartboard which they’ve put up on the front of a bus. I actually felt for the bosses at times. But there really are some great comic highlights [some might say lowlights] like when Jack, via some electronic wizardry, ensures that Mr Jenkins accidentally tunes into police radios and even a pilot’s radio instead of the bus radios which he’s had installed so he can keep track of his wayward drivers. Or when the drivers are asked to wear uniform and nothing else – so they comply totally. Sometimes it gets a little desperate, like a baby [who also wees in his dad’s new hat] who sits on a potty all day and only poos when he’s put in his highchair, though I chuckled anyway and it’s not as if many viewers wouldn’t be able to relate to that. Despite constant product placement on the sides of the buses, the budget seems to have been slightly higher on this one, allowing for more elaborate slapstick set pieces like Arthur and his wife Olive in a broken bike being dragged down the streets by Stan’s bus. And the final bits at Windsor Safari Park are well put together [I’ve seen far worse back projection on more recent bigger budgeted films] even though we seem to build to a big climax which doesn’t happen. But this generally harmless [it has sex on the brain, but doesn’t show a thing nor utter a rude word], even innocent, relic is really quite pleasing and ought to cheer up your day – as long as you let it.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

Dr Lenera
About Dr Lenera 2222 Articles
I'm a huge film fan and will watch pretty much any type of film, from Martial Arts to Westerns, from Romances [though I don't really like Romcoms!]] to Historical Epics. Though I most certainly 'have a life', I tend to go to the cinema twice a week! However,ever since I was a kid, sneaking downstairs when my parents had gone to bed to watch old Universal and Hammer horror movies, I've always been especially fascinated by horror, and though I enjoy all types of horror films, those Golden Oldies with people like Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee probably remain my favourites. That's not to say I don't enjoy a bit of blood and gore every now and again though, and am also a huge fan of Italian horror, I just love the style.

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