Mutiny on the Buses


Blakey (left): ‘Get thee in the hole Satan’; Butler (right, trouserless): ‘All universal moral principles are idle fancies’

It’s a shame I’ve never seen ‘Mutiny on the Buses’. But then again, who has?

The hero of ‘Mutiny on the Buses’ is one Blakey, a melancholy wight whose harrowing experiences in a Japanese P.O.W. camp have cast a bleak shadow on the few remaining years of his life. He remembers the screams, the water torture and the water sports. Never again can he look upon a game of water polo without screeching like a duck. But most of all, he remembers the time his tiny comrade, Little Juan, was led away to be swung from the gallows like a filthy plum. Poor little Juan: thou wast not born to hang like a pendulous fruit.

Now Blakey is an almost broken man. His sole remaining raisin d’ etre as chief bus inspector is to protect bus passengers from the violence and horror that he experienced during the war. His is a lonely beat, a solemn and solitary charge. But it keeps his mind from clubbing itself to death and eating his face off.

Blakey’s fragile fiefdom is about to be rocked to its very rump. Into his world steps Balthasar Butler. His origins unknown, his countenance uncouth, Butler is a savage and lawless sensualist. Butler detects Blakey’s psychological vulnerability upon their first meeting, and sets about tearing it to shreds like a randy sheep-shearer on Valentine’s Day. Blakey starts finding crude little sketches of centaurs defiling nuns in his bus conductor’s bumbag. As he lies in his bunk at night he hears a mysterious and threatening voice whispering ominous obscenities, such as ‘Cor, look at that old love’s knockers, wa-hey!’ and ‘Phwoooar, I wouldn’t mind a Wurzel on her Gummidge’. Blakey is frightened and confused. What can it all mean?, he whimpers to himself, while Butler cackles malevolently like a bosomy witch.

Blakey finally cracks when he discovers Butler despoiling a gaggle of bus passengers, one of whom is his widowed mother-in-law, Mrs Juggers. Blakey gapes in horror like a gaping marmoset while Butler gropes greedily at Mrs Juggers’ knobbly knees with a horrid grin of triumph all over his disgusting greasy gaper.

The spectacle is too much. Blakey gurns like a cow, sighs like a horse, pecks like a goose, squats like a cat and shits like an angry god. He grabs his sexy tormentor by his pale white neck and throttles it like an overworked simile. As the last few puffs of breath squirt out of Butler’s horrid insinuating mouth, Blakey looks deep into his eyes. “I hate you Butler” he whispers, as the vicious beast dies on the bottom deck, among the cigarette butts and milkshake-stained Metro newspapers, like an expiring mammal.

In a time of change and transition, such as the present one, we need films like this to make sense of all of the change and transition. There are so many questions to be answered: how can I cope with all of this change and/or transition? Who should we vote for? Who should we turn to? How will the increase in National Insurance affect me? How can we reduce patient waiting times at GP surgeries? Will I ever get laid? This film has all of the answers, and more! Four out of ten!


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One Response to “Mutiny on the Buses”

  1. On the Buses (1971) | Old Old Films Says:

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