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Bus Riley's Back in Town [VHS]

Ann-Margret , Michael Parks , Harvey Hart  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ann-Margret, Michael Parks, Janet Margolin, Brad Dexter, Jocelyn Brando
  • Directors: Harvey Hart
  • Writers: William Inge
  • Producers: Elliott Kastner
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Universal Studios Ho
  • VHS Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004RERF
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,648 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Bus Riley's Back in Town was supposed to make a star of intense, handsome young Michael Parks. Adapted by William Inge from his play, the story of a rebel struggling to find respect in his small Midwest town, it echoes with themes of his earlier success Picnic. Parks is less a William Holden drifting through life than a grown-up James Dean come back home. Desperate to earn "respect," Bus turns his back on his blue-collar origins, his "bad boy" reputation, and his now-married high school sweetheart Ann-Margret but winds up little more than a reluctant gigolo, selling vacuum cleaners and affection to lonely housewives by day and serving as stud to snarling sex kitten Ann-Margret by night. Parks delivers an endearingly vulnerable performance, mumbling and fidgeting like James Dean reborn as his dreams flounder, and Janet Margolin is tender and sad as Bus's kindred soul, a grown-up teenager tending her alcoholic mother. Harvey Hart has a good feel for actors and an understanding of family dynamics and small-town politics, but the script feels derivative and flat and the supporting cast never comes to life. Studio tampering prompted Inge to take his name off the screenplay. The film never took off and Parks's career stalled, but in the late 1990s he enjoyed a modest revival in the world of American independent films. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Holy Grail has finally been released! April 10, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Anne Margret in a pool with her clothes on; what more can I say! Like many Anne Margret fans this film has long been a holy grail for me. It revolves around a former Navy man (Parks) who returns to his small town many years after he left. There he meets his former High School flame (Margret) the local sex kitten who in the interim has married the local Millionaire. She works her whiles on him culminating in the afore mentioned fully clothed dip in the pool to seduce him. While not a timeless classic along the lines of say PICNIC, or RAINTREE COUNTY, the film is still mildly entertaining, and has long been high on the wish lists of fans to be released on video.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get On The Bus! October 13, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
You've got to love a movie whose main character's first name is "Bus" - whether that's his given name or a nickname is never explained. This film should have made Michael Parks a superstar, as he turns in a stellar performance. Bus returns home by bus (what symbolism!) after 3 years in the navy. He literally runs into his former girlfriend, who has married a rich old man in his absence. You know he can't resist her charms for long. Who could resist the gorgeous Ann-Margret at her seductive best? However, by the end of the film he breaks off his affair with her, realizing that their relationship is going nowhere.
In addition to his romantic troubles, Bus searches for a fulfilling career throughout the film, not wanting to go back to his old job as a mechanic. In fact, he bristles at the suggestion to do so by the local bartender, played by the talented Larry Storch. "I'm sorry, Bus. I'll go down to the bank and suggest that they make you president." Bus replies, "Do me a favor...drop dead!" Throughout a series of failed jobs, the local garage owner keeps urging Bus to go back to work for him as a mechanic. You know he can't resist his persuasiveness for long. Who could keep saying no to the great James Doohan? I think the character he plays in this movie formed the basis for his character Scotty on Star Trek. Then again, that may be too much of a stretch!
This is a movie that proves you can go home again. It also begs for a sequel. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of "Bus Riley's Still In Town!"
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, sensitive little gem April 20, 2005
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
While set in a specific time & place, Bus Riley's dilemma is a timeless one: how does a young, yearning, intelligent person break free of a restrictive society & its many alluring entrapments, and become an individual, following an individual path? Michael Parks delivers a rich, nuanced performance, ably supported by a fine cast. Ann-Margret is a delight as the luscious ex-girlfriend who draws Bus back into her very pleasurable web for awhile -- the film is smart enough not to make her a villain, but simply someone who has it all (or so it seems) but knows that she's still missing something from life. And both Janet Margolin & Kim Darby show why they should have had bigger careers than they did: both are fresh, believable, empathetic. Not everything is neatly tied up by the end, but new possibilities appear, and we realize that Bus may well be on his way to that individual path. Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars BUS RILEY'S BACK IN TOWN February 17, 2013
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
Good movie, remember seeing this when it was first released in ' 65, and when I saw it again, it was even better than I remember. Strong performanceS by Michael Parks, Kim Darby and Ann-Margret. Recommend it. Maybe they'll release it on DVD
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best movies ever. March 7, 2011
Format:VHS Tape
Michael Parks is wonderful in this. Ann-Margret is great as the spoiled, materialistic rich girl. Marlon Brando's sister plays the mom. Kim Darby of "True Grit" fame is the little sister. There is a bit of everything in this story. Alcoholic parents, infidelity, coming of age. It's all beautifully woven together in this somewhat forgotten film that shouldn't be missed. The late David Carradine and Larry Storch also make appearances here.
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