Never as readily available and accessible as it should be, The Big Bus belatedly pulls back into in-print status through Warner Archive. Better manufactured-on-demand than never!
His lead-up to The Muppet Movie, director James Frawley keeps the atmosphere light with slapstick as the company behind the $12 million nuclear-powered superbus known as Cyclops has no choice but to put the disgraced Dan Torrance (Joseph Bologna, Big Daddy) in the driver’s seat for the maiden voyage.
Dan carries a reputation of being a cannibal for eating 110 passengers after a prior bus accident, yet he insists it was “only one foot.” Boasting such amenities as a bar, bowling alley and swimming pool, the sleek double-decker Cyclops leaves New York for a nonstop trip to Denver, only to run into such obstacles as a bomb, mechanical failure and Lynn Redgrave in heat.
The Big Bus is the kind of movie in which a bar brawl can be fought with a broken milk carton and a candle. It’s the kind of movie in which Dan’s co-driver blacks out whenever the vehicle moves. It’s the kind of movie ripe for rediscovery, aging far better than many of its stars — OK, so most of them are dead, but still … —Rod Lott