Monday, August 5, 2013

Review: Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray Still Heat Up "Bus Stop" (Remembering Marilyn Monroe)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 12 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bus Stop (1956)
Running time:  96 minutes (1 hour, 36 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Joshua Logan
WRITER:  George Axelrod (based on the plays of William Inge)
PRODUCER:  Buddy Adler
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Milton Krasner (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  William Reynolds
COMPOSERS:  Cyril J. Mockridge and Alfred Newman
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O’Connell, Betty Field, Eileen Heckart, Robert Bray, and Hope Lange

The subject of this movie review is Bus Stop, a 1956 romantic comedy and drama from director Joshua Logan.  Bus Stop is based on two plays, People in the Wind and Bus Stop (1955), by American novelist, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, and Oscar-winning screenwriter, William Inge.  Bus Stop the movie focuses on a naive but stubborn cowboy (he’s a virgin) and a saloon singer whom the cowboy tries to take against her will back to his ranch in Montana.

An innocent (and infantile) rodeo cowboy named Beauregard “Bo” Decker (Don Murray) temporarily leaves his Montana ranch to attend a rodeo in Phoenix, Arizona.  His surrogate father Virgil (Arthur O’Connell), who travels with him, thinks it time for the sexually inexperienced 21-year old to find a wife.  What Virgil didn’t have in mind was for Bo to fall in love with Cherie (Marilyn Monroe), an abused bar singer with a lot of man mileage on her.  Bo, used to having his way and naively regarding women as if they were nothing more than life stock, stalks and kidnaps Cherie in order to bring her back to the ranch.  It’s at the titular bus stop where Bo finally gets him comeuppance, but does love still bloom?

Many people consider Bus Stop, based upon a well-known stage play of the time, to be the film in which Marilyn Monroe showed that she could act and that she wasn’t just a hot, blond tart.  Although her performance is a bit over the top (wildly over the top in some places to the point of giving a performance that verges on hysteria), she seems to really fit this film.  Don Murray, however, steals Bus Stop, in his first movie role after getting recognition for his stage work.  He earned an Oscar® nomination as a supporting actor for Bus Stop, but he is really the lead, as the film and story revolves around Murray’s Bo and Arthur O’Connell’s Virgil.  The thoroughly handsome Murray is a lightning bolt and a ball of boundless energy.  He really does sell the notion that he is a virginal cowboy who knows nothing about women, and he also makes the father-son relationship with O’Connell feel real.

Bus Stop is an odd and quirky film that is equally parts romance and comedy, more of a comic romance than a romance comedy.  Joshua Logan (Picnic, 1955) does a fine job with what could have been a curious film disaster by keeping the pace fast, never letting us focus on the story’s logical missteps.  He makes the audience laugh with the characters, and he turns up the romance just at the proper moments.

8 of 10

1957 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Don Murray)

1957 BAFTA Awards:  1 nomination: “Most Promising Newcomer to Film” (Don Murray-USA)

1957 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy” and “Best Motion Picture Actress - Comedy/Musical” (Marilyn Monroe)

Updated:  Monday, August 05, 2013

No comments:

Post a Comment