Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Ann-Margaret Bombs in Jerry-Built Role

Cleveland Press Thursday, January 21

Playwright William Inge wrote the original story and screenplay for "Bus Riley's Back in Town," but his name does not appear in the credits. He reportedly refused the use of his name after a number of scenes were rewritten.

It is a safe guess to say that these scenes are the ones involving Ann-Margaret.

The motion picture concerns a young man (Michael Parks) who has returned home after a three-year hitch in the Navy. He enlisted after breaking up with his girl (Ann-Margaret). He learned after his return that she has since married a wealthy, older man.

BUS RILEY IS A GOOD MECHANIC, but longs for a job he would consider somehow better, toys with the notion of becoming a mortician, later is talked into selling vacuum cleaners in a satiric vignette of the super-sales technique.

He is chased by his ex-girl who, in some heavy-handed dialog, makes it clear that she wants to have an affair with him.

Michael Parks is a talented newcomer, has a personality that registers well, displays real acting ability without any annoying mannerisms.

Janet Margolin, the Lisa of "David and Lisa," is excellent as the girl next door and Kim Darby presents an impish portrait of an adoring kid sister.

BUILDING UP THE SCENES involving Ann-Margaret is a perfect example of ruining a film for the sake of a name star and the desire to use sex to sell a movie.

The film has a fine flow to it except for these moments.

As the seductress Ann-Margaret uses all of the mannerisms that have become so familiar in all of her films -- the steamy look, sultry eyes, parted lips and undulating walk.

Her performance has become more a science than an art.