Cross Country Cruise (1934)

Cross Country Cruise (1934) Cross Country Cruise (1934)
Running Time: 72 Minutes
Dir. Edward Buzzell
Cast: Lew Ayres, June Knight, Alice White
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Screening Time: Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 8:50 p.m.
All aboard for a wild road-trip adventure, pre-Code style.  The passengers all have a story, so stay tuned for wild antics, mayhem, and maybe a little bigamy.

2 responses to “Cross Country Cruise (1934)”

  1. tfsadmin says:

    "It Happened One Night" suddenly made bus trips popular at the cinema. "Cross Country Cruise" was made in the middle of Alice White's comeback. She had been one of Warner's brightest musical stars of the early talkies but by 1931 after a very small part in "Murder at Midnight" she was off the screen until 1933. Of course a sensational sex scandal didn't help and when she returned she slipped into the "dizzy dame" type of role and really excelled. She is definitely one of the high lights of this movie as the flirty blonde who is determined to get to California and doesn't care who she has to romance to get there.

    After getting off to a snappy start – Sue's (June Knight) "unmentionables" fall out of her bag and into Norman Winthrop's (Lew Ayres) car. Being a wealthy playboy (who is on his way to a logging camp where his father is determined to make a man of him) – he thinks nothing of following Sue on a cross country bus trip. For a while the movie bogs down, Lew Ayres is his usual breezy self but somehow June Knight fails to convince as a girl to be followed across America. Knight had been a bubbly blonde who attracted attention on Broadway in "Hot Cha" but her personality didn't transfer to the movies and today she is not remembered.

    There is the usual assortment of passengers – but once Alan Dinehart and Minna Gombell appear as a pair of married con artists things pick up. They have a "bible racket" going – looking up death notices in the paper, then trying to convince grief stricken relatives that the deceased had ordered a bible – Peter Bogdanavitch used the same plot line in "Paper Moon". Before this Steve (Dinehart) had been romancing Sue (neglecting to mention his wife, Nita), however when Sue finds out (from Nita – who else, in a quite brazen conversation on the bus) she does not want anything to do with him anymore.

    To break the monotony and further the narrative, there are stops along the way – one at Niagara Falls, another at a county fair. On one of these stopovers, at a department store, Steve has it out with his wife and the results are not pleasant!!! Once back on the bus (his wife's absence is explained away as visiting relatives) Steve proceeds to make Sue's name mud to Norman as he tells him all about their "past". Next stop is a desert court house and Alan Dinehart has done what he does best – been a complete swine, committed an awful crime and then gleefully left clues so another, blameless person will be accused!!! But because Norman is from a wealthy logging family he is allowed to take over the court and solve the crime in his own nifty way!!!

    The three stars who make it worth watching are Allan Dinehart, Minna Gombel, who fortunately has a couple of emotional scenes where she can really let fly, and, of course, Alice White. Lew Ayres, at this time, was entrenched in his "nice boy" programmer phase. He later said that he felt he coasted on his pleasant personality and should have fought for stronger roles.

    Highly Recommended.

  2. tfsadmin says:

    "Cross Country Cruise" is a very strange but enjoyable film that is a bit like "Grand Hotel" in that it's made up of lots of little stories all brought together by, of all things, a bus instead of a hotel! I think you could call it a lower-class version!

    When the film begins, a woman on a double-decker bus accidentally drops something out of her suitcase on the rich guy (Lew Ayres) in his car below. Instantly smitten(??) this idiot then follows the lady as she then transfers to a cross country bus. This is creepy and far- fetched to say the least. On the bus are a variety of characters and rogues…confidence people, bigamists and more. And, during the course of this long journey, one of them becomes a murderer!!

    This film entertains but isn't always logical. Apart from the rich guy who jumps onto the bus on a whim, you also have police that are about to arrest the wrong lady for murder (with no real evidence to support this) as well as allowing the rich guy to conduct the cross- examinations because…well…I have no idea why!! But it is fun and I do recommend you watch it…just be sure not to think too much as you see the stories unfold!

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