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Wildcat Bus (1940)

Approved | | Action, Crime, Drama | 23 August 1940 (USA)
A small bus company run by a father/daughter team comes under attack by a group of "wildcatters" who want to put the company out of business so they can take over the profitable Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route.


Frank Woodruff


Lou Lusty (story), Lou Lusty (screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Fay Wray ... Ted Dawson
Charles Lang ... Jerry Waters II
Paul Guilfoyle ... Pete Donovan
Don Costello ... Sid Casey
Paul McGrath ... Stanley Regan
Joe Sawyer ... Burke (as Joseph Sawyer)
Roland Drew ... Davis
Leona Roberts ... Emma Talbot
Oscar O'Shea ... Charles Dawson
Frank Shannon ... Sweeney
Warren Ashe Warren Ashe ... Joe Miller


Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Angeleno Jerry Waters II, on the verge of losing all his assets except his car and his faithful chauffeur Pete Donovan, is desperate for a job to put food in his mouth. While Donovan is able to find work with Federated Bus Lines, owned and operated by father and daughter Charles and Theodora ("Ted") Dawson and which has the franchise to operate up and down the entire US west coast, Jerry, denied a job with them because of his cocky attitude, instead finds work with Sid Casey driving his own car in unlicensed passenger transport in much the same territory. What Jerry does not know is that the brains behind Casey, Emma "Ma" Talbot, is determined to put Federated out of business and take over its franchise not only by providing that rival and largely underground passenger transport business at a fraction of what Federated charges, but also by having Joe Miller, a mechanic on the inside at Federated, being able to cause some bus malfunctions on the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Girl Trouble-Shooter Smashes Sabotage Syndicate in Bus War!


Action | Crime | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »





English | Spanish

Release Date:

23 August 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Liga de sabotaje See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The beautiful Art Deco building seen at the beginning of the film is the Sunset Tower Hotel - formerly an apartment building that housed the likes of John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor, Paulette Goddard, Frank Sinatra and Bugsy Siegel. Built from 1929-31 and 15 stories tall, at a cost of $750,000 ($11.9M in 2016 dollars), it was renovated into a hotel in the 1980s. See more »


When Jerry Waters quit his job for the cab company he asked boss Casey for his pay that was owed. Casey stated that he owed Jerry two dollars, he proceeded to take money out of his pocket and then gave Jerry more than two bills. See more »


Would You
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Played during the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

Slow Vehicle
30 October 2006 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

This rather poor RKO programmer manages to keep some interest going, mostly due to Fay Wray, who struggles with the poor material, but who is canny enough to make the most of her close-ups, and to Paul Guilefoyle who is pretty good is his supporting role as the hot-tempered moral center of the piece. Leading man -- actually, leading chump -- Charles Lang suggests, if anyone, a rather clueless Dan Duryea.

The plot, about a struggling bus line, owned by Miss Wray's father and run by her, despite the efforts by wildcatters to put it out of business by faking accidents, has hints of screwball comedy about it at some points, but it is rarely played for laughs. Lang, the newly indigent ex-playboy, is down to his last limousine, which has its potential, but the effect is not funny, merely incongruous. Not a terrible piece to watch, but not to go out of your way for.

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