Friday, October 4, 2013

Wayward Hayward

Ray Danton and Susan Hayward in I'll Cry Tomorrow (MGM, 1955)
"Inside reason for Susan Hayward nixing Hilda Crane as her next movie: too similar to I'll Cry Tomorrow. Jean Simmons will play the role instead..." -- Erksine Johnson's column, January 7, 1956

Guy Madison and Jean Simmons in Hilda Crane (20th Century Fox, 1956)
"The Hilda Crane currently in release is a movie nixed by Susan Hayward at Fox. The Cannes Award winner will be seen next in The Wayward Bus." -- Erksine Johnson's column, June 15, 1956

"Susan Hayward is tipping the bottle again on the silver screen...This time, it's for The Wayward Bus, to be produced by 20th Century Fox from the John Steinbeck novel." -- Bill Crawford's column, June 17, 1956

Rick Jason and Joan Collins in The Wayward Bus (20th Century Fox, 1957)
"Susan Hayward is on a sweetness-and-light-plus-fun kick as far as her next movie assignment is concerned. She's definitely said no to The Wayward Bus and The Three Faces of Eve -- both on the morbid side. A bubbly musical may draw a "yes, indeedy" from Susan..." -- Erksine Johnson's column, July 27, 1956

"It is no secret that Susan Hayward is the star who would like to 'wash that man right outta my hair'..." -- The New York Times, October 6, 1956

Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi in South Pacific (20th Century Fox, 1958)
Susie may not have gotten to clinch with Guy, Rick, or Rossano, but Ray and John aren't such bad consolation prizes.

John Gavin and Susan Hayward in Back Street (Universal-International, 1961)

15 comments:

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  2. I have always wanted to see "The Wayward Bus." I have heard that Jayne Mansfield gives a very effective, low-key performance in it. In addition, a movie with both her and Joan Collins is intriguing. Plus, it sounds like an interesting story. As far as I know it has never made it onto any sort of "home" format - VHS, DVD, streaming, etc. I would think there are enough John Steinbeck/Jayne Mansfield/Joan Collins fans out there to warrant a release. I wonder why it has been hidden in the vaults. I do not recall ever even seeing it listed on TCM.

    As I was scrolling down, my first thought was that the photo of Joan was a photo of Anne Bancroft! I have never thought of the two of them looking alike, but I think they do in that particular shot.

    I was totally unaware of Rick Jason before I saw the photo posted here. I did a quick Internet search. I never saw the series "Combat," which he apparently was most famous for. He did work steadily for many decades, but sadly committed suicide in his later years.

    I never saw "Hilda Crane." I will have to try to track that one down.

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    1. From what I understand, "The Wayward Bus" was prevented from being released in any home video format by Steinbeck's widow -- he apparently loathed the film adaptation and halted its circulation. I've only seen bits and pieces in some Jayne Mansfield documentaries, and although it's impossible to glean how effective the film as a whole is, she DOES give a very restrained, natural performance. When she wasn't encouraged (or allowed) to do her cartoon sex schtick -- the wide eyes, the helium-pitched squeals, and, most maddening to me, breaking the fourth wall and flirting/mugging directly at the camera -- I think Jayne was a more effective dramatic actress than Monroe. She has a very honest, guileless approach to drama, whereas with MM, you can see and feel the strain. (That's what ruins "Bus Stop" for me.)

      Here's a fun clip of "Hilda Crane" where Jean Simmons goes head to head with her battle axe of a prospective mother-in-law. AMC used to play this all the time back in the 1990's, and it's another one that I had recorded on VHS and lost in a move. Simmons is quite good at portraying Hilda as a tense neurotic, but just imagine the fire breathing brio Susie would have brought to this confrontation!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwFYgFB0F6c

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    2. P.S. I just found "The Wayward Bus" available on Amazon as a limited edition Blu-Ray. Hefty price tag for a DVD, though, and I think I'll wait it out for a general release. Fingers crossed! http://www.amazon.com/John-Steinbecks-The-Wayward-Blu-ray/dp/B008DXPLAK/ref=pd_cp_mov_0

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    3. Thank you for the information about "The Wayward Bus." Yes, that is a very steep price. I will most likely wait it out too. I noticed in the comments that someone mentioned that the Rick Jason role was originally intended for Marlon Brando, which certainly fits in with your posts this week.

      I just watched the "Hilda Crane" clip. It was very interesting, and I hope TCM shows it soon!

      Regarding your comments about "Bus Stop," I once had an acquaintance who was good friends with Eileen Heckart. He said that she used to really go off when anyone said that Marilyn was a great actress. Apparently her experience working with her in that movie convinced her otherwise. I also have read that there was a one or two minute scene with Hope Lange and Marilyn sitting on the bus talking that took two full days to film (or maybe even longer) because of Marilyn doing what she often did on the set. Observers said that Hope was very patient and helpful with her.

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  3. I can't watch " I'll cry tomorrow " anymore. It's far too harrowing That's a tribute to Susan Hayward and Jo Van Fleet. Their codependency chemistry goes beyond the usual 1950's domineering mother theme, ( done by everyone and every where at that time ) As soon as the tittle flashes on , my stomach starts hurting . Those dames make it not just about Mom , but also about the fear of not meeting an overbearing society's expectations as well.

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    1. One of my friends recently moved into the penthouse apartment at 58th and Seventh Ave., on the same floor where Lillian Roth and her lesbian lover used to live. While I was at his housewarming party, I chatted with a fabulous, elderly lady neighbor of his, who regaled me with tales of how a drunken, stark naked Roth would pound on this neighbor's door and beg for refuge from her equally drunken, abusive lover.

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    2. That is an interesting story about Lillian Roth. How tragic. Apparently she was unable to stay sober throughout her later years.

      Did you ever see this interview?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SapfI1iw-rY

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    3. Such penthouse tales....only in New York...said in reverence

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  4. I can see why Susie turned down Wayward Bus and Hilda Crane not wishing to become the leading dipso of the screen, although Hilda has a very liberated view for a 50's meller, but her refusal of 3 Faces of Eve is a head scratcher-it seems right in her wheel house.

    I have to say I love Jean in Hilda Crane. Susan was right to turn it down, it's too similar to many of the other films she was making at the time. Jean's casting made the movie seem fresher.

    I'd love to see The Wayward Bus, it's one of those Holy Grail movies that for some reason is impossible to find! I know Linda Darnell tested for Joan's part once Susan turned it down and having read the book at that time in her career she would have been perfect for the character as written. I have a hard time seeing the young Joan Collins in that role but I'd love the chance to judge for myself.

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  5. I saw "Bus" on TNT a hundred years ago when they used to play a lot of old/classic movies during the day and overnight. The idea of glamour gals Joan and Jayne in a rather grubby drama was a fascinating one. I was so young at the time, I didn't really absorb a lot of it much. I tuned in to see Collins, but she was so far removed from the Collins I knew and loved at the time that I sort of zoned out. It would be neat to revisit it now! (I had forgotten about Jason, who could be quite a dynamic actor!)

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    1. Yes, I remember when TNT began in the late-1980s. It was basically what TCM is today, except with commercials. However, it was not long before that format was abandoned. How lucky we are for TCM, and the fact that it has been going strong for so many years!

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  7. According to this site, copies of "The Wayward Bus" are available for £3.99 in the UK... Jx

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    1. Thank you for that information, Jon! The site states that "the discs are region-free DVD-R and will play on the vast majority of machines. Please check your equipment is capable of playing DVD-Rs before purchasing."

      The site also states: "Discs come with full menu facilities. Quality does vary, as many of the shows are converted from old tapes or off TV."

      So, "The Wayward Bus" may not be a high quality transfer, but who knows? At least it would allow many of us to finally see it, and the price is right for those of us in the US, even with shipping.

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